Equal pay for teachers to cost €400m over 5 years

Providing equal pay for teachers across Ireland is estimated to cost approximately €400 million over a 5 years period.

Restoring pay equality for teachers is estimated to cost almost €400m extra, according to the Department of Education and Skills.

Unequal pay among teachers was introduced through the two tier pay system, which resulted in new teachers earning less pay than teachers who have worked in the profession longer.

The two-tier salary system was introduced almost a decade ago.

The system was heavily criticised for its decision to cut the pay and conditions of young teachers coming into the profession, while still protecting the terms for older staff.

In 2008 a primary school teacher with an honours degree could expect to earn just under €41,000 in their first job as a full-time teacher.

After the two tier salary system was implemented, a new teacher with the exact same qualification and duties earns €8,500 less before tax than those in the profession longer.

The salary system triggered a strike by 19,000 teachers belonging to the Teachers Union of Ireland on the 4th of February.

The Association of Secondary Teachers in Ireland, who went on strike over the issue in 2016, are also balloting to renew its mandate for industrial action.

According to RTE News, a spokesperson for the Department of Education and Skills confirmed that the cost of resolving the issue for teachers will cost approximately €398m over the next five years.

This cost includes the price of restoring the ‘HDip allowance’ and the overall cost of correcting the salary scale issue.

Restoring the HDip Allowance would cost €14m a year or €70m over a five-year period.

The estimated costs provided by the spokesperson are based on current numbers of teachers employed around the country. These estimate figures will increase with the entry of new teacher into the profession.

The figures also exclude the cost of eliminating two tier salary systems across the public service.

The spokesperson from the Department also stated that the Government had given full reassurance that these matters shall be given full consideration and that this commitment still remains.

He stated that the current series of restorative measures for new entrants into teaching has been achieved through continued engagement and collective bargaining between the public service unions and the Government, and the showed benefits that this engagement and communication is resulting in.

Shauna Burdis 

Image Credit: Shauna O’Brien