Why have the leaderships of the teachers unions accepted Minister Ruari Quinn and the governments’ decision to suspended all allowances for new entrants pending a review of allowances for all teachers?
The union leaders issue statements saying that this type of thievery would not be accepted and that members would be balloted to withdraw from the Croke Park Deal if allowances of existing teachers were sacrificed. While this is welcome, what about new entrants? This suspension means a further pay cut of 4% for new entrants. This unbelievably, on top of all the other cuts they have had to endure, leaves new entrants to teaching 30% behind their colleagues.
All the teaching unions have a mandate from motions passed at each convention in 2011 to oppose any attempt to diminish the pay and conditions of new entrants. They are expected to cooperate with the Croke Park deal even if it does not protect their pay.
The leadership of the teachers unions are adamant that Croke Park must be honoured regardless of the fact that this cut goes right to the heart of why trade unions were established in the first place. Instead of an “injury to one is an injury to all” philosophy the leadership believes the best route is to initiate legal proceedings against the government on inequality grounds! The Croke Park Deal is the cover being used by the government and the Department of Education to radically and detrimentally alter the pay, terms and conditions of all teachers.
Student teachers have shown the way forward. They mobilised 1,000 for a demonstration on the 22 February. Although the union leadership offered a donation and were present for all the photos they failed to call teachers out to support the demonstration. If teachers want to protect their pay, allowances and working conditions then action must be taken to stop the government attacks.