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