Government seeks peace with big pay rise for teachers

IRELAND. IRISH teachers are due to get pay rises of 13 per cent thanks to the Public Services Benchmarking Body, which has spent two years comparing salaries of public and private-sector employees.

The government hopes its report will secure industrial peace in the public sector and end the practice of "relativities", whereby one group leapfrogs ahead of others who then take industrial action to catch up.

The average increase recommended is 8.9 per cent, but teachers do better than other groups such as nurses (8 per cent) and Gardai (police) who got only 5 per cent. They also do better than a whole range of civil service and local authority grades. The increases mean that unpromoted teachers will have pay rates starting at e25,085 (pound;16,100) rising to a maximum of e48,776 (pound;31,305) a year with corresponding rises for qualification allowances and for promotion posts. The increases will be in addition to annual rises worked out in national agreements between the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and the government.

The government has said it is an all-or-nothing report. The unions cannot cherry-pick the recommendations they like and then seek increases for groups who feel hard done by. Primary teachers have reacted favourably to the report but secondary teachers, who have been waging a campaign for a 30 per cent increase, are disappointed.

All the unions will engage in a consultation process and it will be autumn before the government knows the outcome.

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