The new legislation provides that groups who do not “subscribe” to the deal will face penalties. The nuance lies in what precisely constitutes not subscribing to the deal. Initially, three teacher unions – the TUI, the ASTI and the INTO rejected the new agreement because of its failure to account for the tiered pay system introduced for newly recruited teachers during the economic crisis. These three unions constitute 70,000 teachers across the country. If these groups are deemed to have not subscribed to the deal they will face a number of penalties including a nine month delay in receiving pay restoration, an increment freeze until 2020 and will be required to pay the full rate of the pension levy which has been discounted for others under the agreement.
Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe, on announcing the legislation, described the measures outlined in the legislation as appropriate and fair.
In other public sector related news, this month witnessed the first formal disciplinary hearing against a teacher in Ireland. The hearing was held by a panel of the Teaching Council in accordance with part 5 of the Teaching Council Acts 2001 – 2015 in relation to Fitness to Teach.
The legislation dealing fitness to teach measures was formally commenced by Minister for Education Richard Bruton in July 2016 who said the measures will help the teaching profession become more open and accountable.
If a finding is made against the teacher, sanctions available range from a written warning to a ban on teaching. The process broadly mirrors disciplinary procedures in place for the nursing and medical profession. In cases which go before an inquiry, the panel must decide whether the complaint is proven and on what ground, such as professional misconduct, poor professional performance and being medically unfit to teach.
The Teaching Council said the measures will support high professional standards in the profession.
Thursday, 16 November 2017