Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Education Thomas Byrne TD says the confusion at the heart of Government in relation to pay equality for newly qualified teachers is contributing to deteriorating industrial relations in the sector.

Deputy Byrne said, “Last night on Claire Byrne Live, Minister Damien English stated that he believed full pay equality for teachers would happen “eventually”. However, under questioning today in the Dáil, Taoiseach Enda Kenny refused to confirm to Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin that this was Government policy.

Deputy Byrne has repeatedly called on Minister for Education Richard Bruton to make a public statement committing to full equality of pay for newly qualified teachers on behalf of the Government.

“I believe Minister Burton should make a public statement outlining a pathway to full pay equalisation for newly qualified teachers. Such a statement would go a long way in helping to reassure ASTI members that substantial progress has been made on pay equality,” said Deputy Byrne.

“The Minister has to reassure ASTI teachers that they will see immediate progress on the allowances for newly qualified teachers, as per the current INTO & TUI deal. Furthermore Minister Bruton must outline that he is fully committed to achieving equalised scales for new entrants in the post-Lansdowne Road Agreement talks which are due to take place in 2018.

“The Public Service Pay Commission is the way forward for examining pay levels across the public service, including entry levels of pay and allowances. The Commission was a key demand of Fianna Fáil in our discussions on an arrangement to facilitate a minority Government.”