Thursday, 14 December 2017
Department of Education and Skills
Public Sector Pay
The Public Service Pay and Pensions Bill 2017, which gives effect to the pay measures contained in the Public Service Stability Agreement 2018-2020 (PSSA), is currently being considered by the Oireachtas. The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform has overall responsibility for the Bill. The PSSA provides a framework for further negotiation on a number of issues, including new entrant pay.
Public service agreements have already delivered on a number of issues through structured negotiations and engagement with concerned groups. Through this process a 15-22% pay increase was negotiated for new teachers. The agreements to date have restored an estimated 75% of the difference in pay for more recently recruited teachers and deliver full equality at later points in the scale.
As a result of these changes and taking into account the proposed pay measures under the Public Service Stability Agreement 2018-2020, the starting salary of a new teacher from 1 January 2018 will be €35,958 and from 1 October 2020 onwards will be €37,692. If full equalisation was achieved the starting salary for a post-primary teacher from 1 October 2020 would be €43,879 and for a primary teacher would be €41,511.
Further to this, newly recruited teachers benefit from the terms of the Ward Circular which reduced the qualifying period from a CID and the removal of the career break and secondment categories of objective grounds which had previously prevented some teachers from gaining CIDs. In addition to earlier permanency, other measures of benefit to newly recruited teachers included a revised sequence for the filling of posts to enable fixed-term and part time teachers to gain permanent, full-time jobs more quickly and easier than before. These benefits were achieved through continued engagement and collective bargaining.
It must be borne in mind that the pay reduction for post-2011 entrants to the public service applied to all public servants and not just teachers, and that any restoration of these measures in respect of teachers would be expected to be applied elsewhere across the public service. While I am not in a position to provide an estimate of the total cost of restoring all post-1 January 2011 entrants in all of the public service to the pre-2011 pay scale arrangements, I can say that in the case of education and training sector employees, including teachers, the estimated current full year cost would be in the order of €130 million. Clearly, the cost across the entire public service would be substantially higher.
To have gone further than the pay increases that have been negotiated would mean I would have had less money available to hire over 1,000 extra SNAs in 2018, and over 1,000 extra teachers in 2018.
Any further negotiation on new entrant pay is a cross sectoral issue, not just an issue for the education sector. The Government also supports the gradual, negotiated repeal of the FEMPI legislation, having due regard to the priority to improve public services and in recognition of the essential role played by public servants.
Accordingly, the recently concluded Public Service Agreement 2018-2020 includes a provision in relation to new entrants which states that an examination of the remaining salary scale issues in respect of post January 2011 recruits at entry grades covered by parties to the Agreement will be undertaken within 12 months of the commencement of the Agreement. An initial meeting on new entrant pay under this process took place on 12 October 2017. Further progress has been made in this regard through the amalgamation of the post-2011 and post-2012 pay scales as of 1 January 2018.