Saturday 16 December 2017

'I hoped they'd address the two-tier pay system for new teachers like me'

My Budget: The Civil Servant

Teacher Fergal Douglas pictured in his classroom at Colaiste Padraig CBS, Lucan.
Teacher Fergal Douglas pictured in his classroom at Colaiste Padraig CBS, Lucan.

Teacher Fergal Douglas believes those who have recently entered the profession will feel let down by the Budget.

The 26-year-old teaches English at Colaiste Padraig in Lucan, Dublin.

However, he earns a lot less than his colleagues who qualified prior to 2011.

Those who entered the profession after January 1, 2011, were placed on a reduced pay scale compared to teachers already working in the system.

A teacher starting out earns €27,814 in their first year.

Fergal graduated in 2011. If he qualified before the Croke Park Agreement he would earn €9,000 more than he currently takes home.

"My main concern is the pay scale. I was hoping it would have been mentioned in the Budget.


"A return to the equalisation of the pay scale was the one thing I wanted to see in the Budget.

"I work with people who do the exact same amount of work as I do, but I earn a lot less - even though my job title is the exact same," Fergal told the Herald.

The Lucan man graduated at the peak of the recession, when very little was on offer to those looking to enter the profession.

While the former UCD student feels lucky to have secured a job, he believes the Government missed an opportunity to address the pay scale issue.

"Very few people in my class managed to get jobs straight away. I was one of the lucky ones," he said.

"Now that I am settling into the profession it does wear you down after time. I don't see how the Government can stand over the pay scale."

The teacher has expressed his frustration that the Government has not addressed the issue of housing. He is still living in the family home and believes there is no way he could afford to live on his own.

Fergal has welcomed the reduction in pupil-teacher ration and the creation of 2,260 jobs.

In primary schools it is being reduced from 28:1 to 27:1, while the ratio in secondary schools is going down marginally from 19:1 to 18.7:1.

A total of €8.5bn is being allocated to education next year.

"The reduction will help and the creation of new jobs can only be welcomed.

"But I think the pay scale issue will become a major problem again when new teachers enter the profession," he said.

"I am a big fan of the Government and what they have done. I think they have been sensible so they couldn't just give everybody what they wanted straight away.

"I'm not celebrating, but I think it's sensible," he said.

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