A bitter pill in a sugar coating

30th June 2000 at 01:00
Letters to the Editor IF ONE were to remove the "r" and the "e" from the name McCrone then we may get a true reflection of what is actually being offered to teachers. As a subject principal teacher I can expect an exceedingly benevolent 12 per cent over two years at the expense of giving up one week's holiday, working till 5pm every night, and taking the odd lunchtimeextra curricular activity after school.

I am at present doing this, but based on goodwill, and like many other teachers, I did not need a contract to bind me to the commitment and care of young people. Is this not really about trust and sound judgment? Teachers are already doing an excellent job, and just like many other people who work flexitime we can complete our targets and objectives within our additional voluntary time.

Does the 6 per cent phased rise come separate from our annual inflation busting 2.5 per cent cost of living increase? Or is this tactfully massaged into the deal for the whole year? If this is the case (ad I suspect it may be) then obviously the increase is really only 3 per cent, and over the years it amounts to 6 per cent.

What in effect is happening is that at the end of two years we will probably be back to square one taking into account inflation and all other cost of living influences.

The McCrone committee is really just the Millennium Review wrapped up in a sweet outer coating, but inside the real surprise is that the profession will be left with no conditions of service when we come to stare down the barrel of the next pay negotiations.

Young teachers are not going to enter the profession on the new salary scales, when the school janitors (no disrespect) can earn the same amount with some overtime thrown in. No one comes into teaching for the money, and this conveniently leaves us with our conditions of service, which should not be up for grabs, and should be considered sacrosanct above all other well wrapped incentives.

John McFarlane. Quarry Street. Hamilton


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