Pay equality: reaching for the holy grail

Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.

Sun Tzu

The pay restoration agreement reached today between the INTO and TUI on one side and the DES and DPER is a major step towards returning to pay equality. The agreement does what many of us though would take years to achieve: it eliminates a pay scale introduced in 2012 for teachers who have been denied both their rightful pay and the allowances many of us enjoy as a right. The agreement does not achieve pay parity for all and both unions acknowledge this. But it eliminates the discrimination against anyone who has or will join the profession after 2012.

The difficulty for some will come from the belief that all the restoration could be achieved in one fell swoop. This view is unrealistic and teachers should be wary of those that offer simplistic solutions to complex problems: anyone who tells you they can achieve more than this by grandstanding and rejecting negotiation is just plain delusional.

The worst part of the agreement for me is that it doesn’t apply to every teacher.When I said above that it eliminates the discrimination against all post-2012, it doesn’t: ASTI members in that position will not be included. This after the leadership of the union having been offered a place at the negotiating table without prejudice, and after having sight of the agreement before it was announced. It saddens me to say that my union is doing a disservice to those teachers who could do with this pay increase and that the ASTI will predictably stand against this agreement in favour of continuing to ballot for strike action in the vain hope of getting more than the other two unions while remaining outside of a pay agreement.

This may not have been everything we wanted, but it is huge progress and, regrettably, today has been another dark day for the ASTI. 


11 thoughts on “Pay equality: reaching for the holy grail

  1. Fintan, I fear it is you who is delusional!
    Do you honestly think an initial offer – which this surely is – would have been proffered by the Govt if the ASTI were not outside the LRA, putting pressure on them to deal with the issue of inequality in pay scales?
    I believe this considerable progression towards pay restoration can be attributed DIRECTLY to the actions of the majority (that means most) of the members of the ASTI standing up to the bullying tactics of an untrustworthy Govt.
    What you are pedalling is capitulation & defeatism; ‘you might as well accept the first offer lads, it’s the best ye’ll get’.
    This ‘offer’ represents movement towards the ASTI position & any movement can gather powerful momentum if enough people (members of the organisation, like you) get behind it!
    So get behind it Fintan, or for God’s sake stop trying to scupper it at every blog post!

    1. I agree Michael. In addition, the new, better (but not ideal) deal re the new JC towards the end of Jan O’Sullivan’s tenure was wholly down to ASTI influence despite the TUI simply agreeing to everything the government throws at them. The ASTI continues to provide a vital support to the teaching profession as a whole.

      1. The Junior Cycle was an entirely different campaign. In that case the ASTI leadership was held to account by Standing Committee and finalised an agreement alongside the TUI. They (leadership) then failed to sell that agreement to either CEC or the membership.
        In this instance the ASTI leadership has been allowed to abrogate responsibility for seeking to advantage the weakest of our members. Neither agreement was ‘just thrown at’ the unions, both involved careful negotiation, in the first instance the ASTI was involved, in the second we weren’t.

  2. Oh, and in relation to your blog ‘4 things wrong with the ASTI (and one way to fix them)’ I quote from the above article;


    “…teachers should be wary of those that offer simplistic solutions to complex problems…” F. O’Mahony, 2016.

    1. There is nothing simplistic about anything I have proposed: it requires a courage, a foresight and a practicality that is non-existent in the ASTI leadership now. Where will this end? Think. Only with a necessary capitulation that will be fatal to the ASTI.

      1. Fintan, you are an excellent repository of knowledge for everything ASTI and your social media posts and blog here are very good sources of information, but ever since the last ASTI convention it seems as if your personal disagreements with the current ASTI leadership (to which you have been very critical of in both of your replies here) are clouding your judgement with respect to what is best for teachers, and indeed the teaching profession in the long term.

      2. No actually, if you’d care to peruse this blog in detail you find that I have been a critical voice in the ASTI for some time, critical at least of those populists and conservatives who have no interest in improving education or teaching or the pay and conditions of those teachers through trade unionism.

  3. Members should insist on all out strike or accept the government offerings. If all out strike invisible incumbent on ASTI to provide strike pay to members. Union needs to get serious or get lost.

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