Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Education Thomas Byrne TD has called on Minister Richard Bruton to commit to achieving pay equality for new entrants to the teaching profession.

Speaking from the INTO conference in Belfast Deputy Byrne said, “Currently new entrants to the teaching profession start on much lower salary scales as compared to their established colleagues. The difference in pay scales means that a new teacher will earn up to €100,000 less than their colleagues over the course of their career.

“This is having an adverse impact on morale in schools as new teachers are understandably disillusioned as they are receiving different levels of pay compared to their colleagues despite doing the same work. Many new entrants to the teaching profession are choosing to start their careers elsewhere due to inequality in pay scales. This in turn is leading to a shortage of teachers which is damaging our education system.

“Fianna Fáil insisted that the Government establish a Public Service Pay Commission as part of the Confidence and Supply Arrangement. The purpose of establishing this commission was to examine issues such as pay inequality for teachers. The Commission is due to issue its report in the coming weeks and Minister Bruton will have to set out his plan for tackling pay inequality for teachers.

“I have always maintained that the current situation whereby new entrants to the teaching profession do not receive the same pay as their established colleagues cannot be justified in the long-run. I believe there should be equal pay for equal work.

“Minister Bruton needs to give a firm commitment that he is working to achieve pay equality for new teachers as public finances improve. The current situation is eroding morale in schools and simply cannot be allowed to continue.”