To ask the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform in view of the ongoing discussions with regard to pay increases, if consideration has been given to re-visiting the Haddington Road Agreement, with a view to improving the rates of pay for new teachers, who are currently receiving much lower salaries than their colleagues, for the same work; if he will prioritise this particular group, in any future pay discussions with the teaching unions; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
There are two measures which currently underpin public service pay and pensions policy: the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Acts (or FEMPI) and the Haddington Road Agreement (HRA). The HRA, in the Government’s view, sets the parameters for pay policy in the public service until July 2016. The pay and conditions of teachers come within the ambit of public service pay policy in this regard. The reduced rates of pay for new entrants to the public service in general, and to the Education Sector specifically, were one of a number of measures introduced over the period since the fiscal crisis began which directly affected the pay of staff. The reductions in starting pay were introduced as part of the National Recovery Plan in order to reduce the Public Service Pay and Pensions Bill. Negotiations in the Haddington Road Agreement subsequently provided for an agreed process for the amalgamation of pay scales to address the imbalance between those who entered the public service as new entrants after January 2011 and those who became public servants before January 2011. This measure represents a significant redressing of the imbalance particularly in the context of the savings required under the Haddington Road Agreement.