Schools and third level institutes all across Louth closed today (Tuesday February 4) as members of the Teachers Union of Ireland went on strike over unequal pay.
Many students around the country are undertaking mock Junior and Leaving Certificate exams this week and with just days until the General Election, the union say the action is designed to mark a point to all candidates and powers that strike action will continue until pay inequality is no more.
Across the country, hundreds of post-primary schools under the auspices of regional Education and Training Boards as well as community comprehensive schools closed their doors for the day.
This included at Ardee Community School where teachers picketed at the gates all day (pictured above)
In Louth, TUI members at third level Dundalk Institute of Technology and O’Fiach Institute of Further Education were among those also taking part. Teachers and staff at Youthreach programmes – delivered by regional ETBS – also took part.
Louth Meath Education and Training Board manages 18 Post Primary schools and one Primary school across the two counties and is also responsible for an extensive range of Adult Services throughout both counties, including Adult Learning Services, Community Education, Back to Education Initiative, VTOS, Youthreach and Adult Guidance.
The TUI say that today’s strike action is due to the failure to end pay discrimination that affects teachers who entered the profession since 2011. Those teachers are paid at a lower rate than teachers working before that point.
The Union want any new government formed in the coming weeks to commit to ‘fully and finally’ ending pay discrimination.
“Irrespective of whether they are personally affected, all members of the TUI are completely united in demanding an end to pay discrimination as a matter of urgency,” a TUI spokesperson said.
“The morale of teachers has been severely damaged by the discriminatory two-tier pay system. Pay discrimination has also led to a deepening crisis in the recruitment and retention of teachers. This crisis inevitably impairs the quality of service to students.
“The only way to resolve this difficulties is to end the divisive, irresponsible and damaging practice of paying teacher colleagues different rates for carrying out the same work.”
TUI, who represent 19,000 teachers and lecturers in post-primary schools, colleges of further and adult education and Institutes of Technology/Technological Universities, say that teachers employed after February 1 2012 earn 14% less on appointment and €50,000 less than some colleagues over he first ten years of employment.
Visited picket lines at St. Oliver’s, DIFE, Youthreach, Colaiste na hInse, Drogheda Educate Together & Scoil Ui Mhuiri to express my support for striking teachers and lecturers.
Clear commitment in our manifesto to address the pay inequality for new entrant teachers & lecturers pic.twitter.com/vvi4HJ7RJa
— Ged Nash (@geraldnash) February 4, 2020