All three of the country's teacher unions are demanding an end to pay inequality

70,000 teachers could go on strike this September if significant progress is not made on the issue of pay inequality.

This afternoon, all three of Ireland’s main teacher unions unanimously passed an emergency motion calling for coordinated strike action if the Government doesn't come up with a timeline to restore pay.

Over 20,000 teachers hired after 2011 are currently on a lower pay-scale than their colleagues hired before the cut-off.

The two-tier pay scale was introduced as an emergency measure following the financial crash.

 

The joint motion agreed this afternoon calls for talks with the Government to start this month and to conclude by early May - with a concrete timeline for the restoration of pay for lower paid teachers.

The unions, which are all holding their annual conferences this week, will ballot their members for coordinated strike action if the issue is not resolved.

Siobhan Peters seconded the motion at the Association of Secondary Teachers of Ireland Congress in Cork:

“I myself am five increments behind a 2010 graduate with the same experience and this is the best case scenario for 2011 graduates,” she said.

“I am sure there are many more lower-paid teachers who are further behind on the incremental scale as a result of part-time hours and casual contracts.

“I think it is fair to say that no-one expected instantaneous results or expected lower-paid teacher to gain pay-parity overnight.”

Last month, a Government report warned that it will cost the taxpayer some €200m to address pay inequality across the public sector. 

Minister Richard Bruton received a mixed welcome at the ASTI Conference in Cork this evening;