Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Education and Skills Thomas Byrne TD has urged the ASTI leadership and the Department of Education to continue to engage in talks to avoid further disruption to schools.

Deputy Byrne made the comments after meeting a group of teachers earlier today.

“Minister Bruton must outline a clear pathway to full pay equalisation for newly qualified teachers. Teachers in the ASTI need to be reassured that a deal on pay equality is open to them if they enter the Lansdowne Road Agreement,” said Deputy Byrne.

“These teachers also need to know that further progress can be made in achieving pay equality post the Lansdowne Road Agreement. This would be in addition to the progress already made with other unions.

“I have always maintained that the current situation whereby new entrants to the teaching profession do not receive the same allowances as their established colleagues cannot be justified. It is corrosive to morale in schools.

“The commitment to examine pay levels across the public service, including entry levels of pay and allowances, was a key demand of Fianna Fáil in our discussions to facilitate a minority Government. We will ensure that this commitment is acted upon, particularly through the Public Service Commission.

“I believe a clear commitment to pay equality would act as a catalyst to resolving other industrial relations issues with the ASTI. I urge the ASTI and its members to reconsider entering the Lansdowne Road Agreement which Fianna Fáil remains committed to.

“Teachers who have entered into the Lansdowne Road Agreement will receive full payment for supervision and substitution duties. They also have room to manoeuvre on a number of issues, including flexibility with the Croke Park Hours,” concluded Deputy Byrne.