The recent agreement reached with the Teachers Union of Ireland, TUI, and the Irish National Teachers Organisation, INTO, on the issue of new entrant pay will result in increases of up to €2,000 per year for new teachers at the start of their careers. The estimated value of these increases over a teacher's career is €135,000. This new arrangement will apply to members of the teachers' unions which have signed up to the Lansdowne Road agreement, namely, the TUI and the INTO.
This agreement gives substantial benefits to new teachers and shows what is possible through dialogue and negotiation within the Lansdowne Road agreement.
The ASTI's decision to withdraw from the Croke Park hours means that the union has placed itself outside the Lansdowne Road agreement. However, the benefits of the new entrant pay deal can also be available to ASTI members. With that objective in mind, I wrote to the ASTI in the past fortnight to confirm my willingness to conclude a similar agreement with them and to deliver these benefits to newly-qualified ASTI members in the context of the union's co-operation with the Lansdowne Road agreement.
I also reiterated my Department’s offer to suspend the implementation of measures associated with the repudiation of the Lansdowne Road agreement if the union suspends its directive to withdraw from the Croke Park hours. This would provide a more constructive context for talks to take place and would avoid disruption in schools. It would also mean that thousands of ASTI teachers would receive the payment for supervision and substitution, as well as other benefits and protections under the Lansdowne Road agreement. Unfortunately, the ASTI have refused this offer thus far but it remains open.
Despite this, my Department is making arrangements to continue the ongoing discussions with the ASTI on its issues of concern. Continuing dialogue between my Department and the ASTI would be in the best interests of schools, parents, students and teachers as is evidenced by the agreements reached with the INTO and the TUI. It is regrettable the ASTI seems determined to pursue a route of confrontation rather than dialogue.