Teachers' Union seek additional 'Dublin Allowance' in new pay talks
Fresh talks on a new public sector pay deal are set to begin before the summer break.
The Irish National Teachers Organisation (INTO), the country's biggest teaching union, has supported calls for an additional payment to compensate members for the higher cost of living in urban areas.
Similar calls have been rejected by trade unions in the past, with union leaders against the idea of drawing geographical distinctions between members.
A comparable allowance is already in place in Britain, with civil servants and teachers receiving a 'London Weighting Allowance' in which they receive additional payments in lieu of the increased cost of living in the English capital.
In the case of the 'London Weighting Allowance', teachers in central London can earn the equivalent of €10,500 extra on top of their basic pay, with those in outer London earning up to €4,780 extra.
The motion to call for an Irish version of the allowance was debated in a private session at the INTO annual conference earlier this week, with proponents claiming that public sector pay has lagged far behind inflation rates.
Owing to these increases in inflation rates, it was also claimed that living standards have diminished and that difficulties in recruitment and staff retention have become more pronounced.
Last week, a new scheme was announced by the Minister for Education Norma Foley in an effort to combat the spiralling staff shortages being endured by schools across the country.
The scheme would see teachers in high-demand subjects such as Irish and Maths be shared between schools, with the possibility of recruiting retired teachers to return to schools as substitutes also explored.
However, in relation to calls for a cost-of-living allowance, Minister Foley has previously balked at similar demands, sighting the fact that new entrant teachers in Ireland earn more than their UK counterparts already, with a full-time salary of roughly €42,000.
Talks over a new public sector pay deal are set to get underway before the summer, with the existing agreement from last Autumn set to lapse at the end of 2023.
The Department for Education have also released a statement in which they said it would engage with unions and "discuss all matters in the coming months with a view to negotiating a successor to the current pay deal".
But with inflation rates falling at present, the government may seek to postpone talks for as long as possible, with unions' demands being weakened by the improving economic situation.
The INTO's motion though argues that real earnings for teachers fell by 4.2% last year, suggesting that a further decrease will occur in 2023 also.
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