Fianna Fáil’s Education Spokesperson has called on Minister Richard Bruton to announce an agreement in principle between his department and teacher unions on the restoration of allowances for newly qualified teachers.

Deputy Thomas Byrne made the comments following a meeting earlier today with senior leaders of the TUI and INTO. Subsequent to the meeting Deputy Byrne contacted Minister Bruton to outline Fianna Fáil’s view that this matter needs to be concluded with an agreement in principle by the end of the week.

“It’s time we saw an acceleration in the talks between the two unions and the Department of Education and Skills and Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. There is the potential for serious industrial unrest in our schools should this matter not be resolved. Dragging these talks on beyond this week could cause severe difficulties,” said Deputy Byrne.

“It is clear that an agreement in principle effectively exists on the restoration of allowances for newly qualified teachers, and that ongoing negotiations are largely technical details that need to be resolved. However a Government statement is essential to confirm this progress.

“I have told Minister Bruton that a public statement should be made to confirm that an agreement in principle exists. This will provide reassurance for young teachers that progress is being made on achieving pay equality.

“New entrants to the teaching profession do not receive the same allowances as longer serving teachers, which cannot be justified and is corrosive to morale within schools. Unequal pay for new teachers is also discouraging talented individuals from entering or staying in the profession.

“A signal of clear progress on this crucial issue for teachers would act as a catalyst to resolving other industrial relations issues within the education sector, and will be the key to averting industrial action in the new school year.”