Ahead of lunchtime protests today by members of the Teachers Union of Ireland against pay rates for new entrants, Solidarity TD Mick Barry has criticised the government's two-tier pay scales and increased precarity for young teachers.
He also called on the public to support the protests which he said were ''defending public education.''
Solidarity TD Mick Barry said ''In the last couple of weeks, we have had reports on the difficulty schools have had in recruiting new teachers. The key reason for the pay cuts which the government have implemented for new teachers.
''By creating a two-tier pay scale the government are expecting young people to become yellow pack teachers, yet they act surprised when these same teachers go abroad to earn more money. In fact, the Taoiseach advised them to do so if they ever want to own a home. For a teacher who started working last year, their pay is 21% below what it would have been previously. We also have a situation where 18% of teachers are forced into taking a second job due to low pay.''
He also pointed out that alongside lower rates of pay, precarity was now a major issue for young teachers with many forced to take second jobs to support themselves.
''Alongside the two-tier pay, we are also witnessing the growth in precarious jobs for young teachers. Often, newly qualified teachers can't get a permanent so are forced to spend the first years of their career in temporary positions or insecure 'subbing' role. 66% of new teachers who have qualified since 2010 are in precarious jobs working temporary or part-time roles.
''If we want a quality public education system, we need more teachers and the teachers must be paid accordingly. Instead, the government have created a situation where two teachers will be paid vastly different amounts for doing the same job. The public should support the actions of the TUI today. The protest isn't just about pay its about our education service as a whole.''