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Education and equal pay

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Sir, – In “The issues set to dominate Irish education in 2018” (Analysis, January 2nd), you applaud equality campaigners working to remove the “baptism barrier”.

In the same article, you berate the ASTI for its campaign to fight for “equal pay” for its members.

Are you for equality or not? – Yours, etc,

NOEL DOWNING,

Rathmines,

Dublin 6.

Sir , In referring to ASTI “kamikaze-style industrial relations tactics”, you make no reference to the context of the serious injustice of unequal pay for newly qualified teachers, which has been going on now since 2011, or to the major concerns about educational standards at junior cycle. You also fail to mention the Government’s use of emergency legislation, in the absence of an emergency, to cut pay and deny contracts to ASTI teachers.

Perhaps deep issues regarding the state of Irish democracy are beyond the remit of your analysis? – Yours, etc,

PHILIP IRWIN,

Knocklyon,

Dublin 16.

Sir, – Catherine Martin TD gets across the key message regarding pay inequality in the teaching profession and the now emerging consequences of this policy (January 2nd).

Schools are finding it increasingly difficult to recruit and to retain teachers in many subject areas. Currently there are far too many vacancies in our schools and it appears that this will continue.

This is no surprise to teacher unions, which have raised red flags around this issue for many years. ASTI members went as far as engaging in strike action in the last school year in order to highlight the issue.

It will take more than “initiatives” to entice people into teaching. Placing all teachers on the pre-2011 pay scale would be a good starting point to resolving this issue.

On a related note, while The Irish Times is predicting new-entrant pay for teachers as one issue which will dominate Irish education in 2018, it fails to recognise the role of the teacher unions in bringing to the public’s attention the consequences of unequal pay on teaching and education in Ireland and instead resorts to an unbalanced comment about the ASTI. – Yours, etc,

GER CURTIN,

President,

ASTI,

Thomas MacDonagh House,

Winetavern Street,

Dublin 8.

Sir, – The Minister for Education Richard Bruton has come up with another idea, paying the €14,000 two-year master’s fees to incentivise those with physics degrees into the teaching profession(“State may pay to train teachers in key areas”, December 29th).

However, he fails to acknowledge that these intelligent young people are unlikely to be enticed into a profession where their colleague in the classroom next door is paid a higher wage for doing exactly the same work.

Who wants to work in a profession almost crippled by successive years by casualisation, where there are discriminatory pay scales and the idea that equal pay for equal work is something that the Minister of the day, and by extension the Government, are unable to grant as a matter of urgency? – Yours, etc,

STEPHEN O’HARA,

Ballincollig,

Co Cork.

[“Source-irishtimes”]