Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Education and Skills Thomas Byrne TD says that engagement between the Government and Teachers Unions must commence immediately on the issue of pay for recently qualified teachers.

Deputy Byrne has commented following the acceptance by the Public Services Committee of ICTU of the Public Services Stability Agreement. Two teaching unions have already rejected the agreement in their own ballots.

Deputy Byrne said, “There is clearly a particular issue concerning recently qualified teachers. The Agreement, which ICTU have accepted, contains provision for engagement on the issue of pay scales for all newer public sector employees, including teachers.

“There is clearly an urgent need for this engagement to commence immediately. Fianna Fáil calls on the Government to move to finally address this and, at the very least, demonstrate that this is Government policy and to draw a roadmap showing how and when it can be achieved.

“The commitment to examine pay levels and pay equality across the public service, including entry levels of pay and allowances, was a key demand of Fianna Fáil in our discussions on an arrangement to facilitate a minority Government. We ensured that this commitment was acted upon, through the Public Service Pay Commission which agreed the new public pay agreement.

”As result of pressure from Fianna Fáil, from unions and teachers themselves, the difference between new teachers and teachers on the old pay scale has narrowed substantially whereby the starting salary for newly qualified teachers will be €37,600 from 2020 as opposed to €41,500 for pre-2011. However more clearly needs to be done to bridge the gap.

“Fianna Fáil is united on this and we are committed to achieving full pay equality for newly qualified teachers. We will be pushing the Government through the pay agreement to agree a roadmap with unions on how full pay equality will be achieved. We need to re-assure teacher unions, on the new entrant issue and give them a robust roadmap as to how full pay scale equality will be achieved.”