Action against cuts to newly qualified teachers.
Dear Minister Quinn and Minister Howlin,
This petition is being circulated in response to the announcement that all allowances payable to new teachers are to be suspended pending the public sector review.
As an equal opportunities employer, it is confusing as to how the Government can expect new entrants to the teaching profession to work under the same conditions as teachers who are paid 30% more than them. This reduction is completely unjustifiable, a move which depreciates and undervalues the quality of education undertaken by new entrants in comparison to those who entered the profession in previous years.
Consequently, a four tier remuneration scale has been created within the one system;
1. Pre-January 2011 rate,
2. Post-January 2011 rate,
3. Post-December 2011 rate and
4. The post February 2012 rate on which new entrants are required to commence their vocation.
The Government is expecting entrants from February 2012 to carry out the exact same duties, while starting on a maximum salary which is 30% less than what they would have earned had they been in a position to enter the system two years ago.
Additionally, this new maximum salary disregards any additional qualifications achieved prior to commencement of the PDE course 2011/2012. Treating new teachers as a lesser employee than their colleagues who have entered the profession before them is scandalous to say the least, exceptionally insulting and contradictory to employment equality.
New teachers are expected to perform the same role, to the same standards as their colleagues while being remunerated in accordance with a very different pay scale. This is despite their commitment to the teaching profession prior to the proposed reductions.
Do we not live in a democratic society that promotes and values equal pay for equal work?
They cannot be expected to work in conditions where such inequalities exist. Furthermore, the Government continuously preaches about the importance of creating a "Knowledge economy". Surely then it is in the interests of the Government to attract teaching staff of a high calibre into the education system in Ireland. By refusing to recognise and reward high achievement, this attack on new entrants will force energetic, innovative and dedicated new teachers to emigrate to countries where their academic success will be rewarded, recognised and most importantly, encouraged. This Government is offering no incentives for younger people to become teachers within the Irish educational system. The exclusion of the new generation of teaching staff will have enormous implications for the sustainability of this "Knowledge economy" you are so fond of.
Furthermore, new entrants will be required to adopt the Croke Park Agreement once they complete their studies despite the fact that it has offered them no protection thus far. They will be required to comply with the very parameters of a deal which has facilitated the butchering of their salaries. If the agreement is re-opened in the future, new entrants will be subjected to a further cut or possible freezing of increments which will have an enormous effect on their pension entitlements given that they are to be calculated on career average earnings.
In the interests of fairness, equality, inclusion and basic moral values, new teachers are demanding the immediate reversal of the decision not to pay allowances to new entrants which leaves them in an inferior financial position in comparison to their colleagues.
This cut completely undermines social equality and the Government should be ashamed of implementing such divisionary measures.
New teachers are completely aware of the financial state of the country, but it is not right to introduce measures which make one group feel undervalued within the same system. There are other ways of achieving savings and new entrants cannot and will not be used as scapegoats to the financial crisis.