[Sinn Fein]

14 November 2000


``Teachers should be paid'' - Ó Caoláin

Sinn Fein TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has backed the secondary teachers' call for salary increases ``to stem the flow of talented people from the education sector and to re-establish the attractiveness of teaching as a profession''.  He added: ``This is an investment in our children and in our future.''

Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

``The government should commence immediate discussions with the teachers on their pay claim.  The teachers should be paid substantially more. It is regrettable that they have had to resort to strike action which inconveniences pupils and parents. But the issue here is the quality of the education system, the most important element of which are well-trained, highly motivated and properly paid teachers.  We must act decisively to stem the flow of talented people from the education sector and to re-establish the attractiveness of teaching as a profession.  This is an investment in our children and in our future.

``The 30% rise sought by teachers may seem excessive but it must be placed in context. Basic pay for teachers commencing their careers is 17,406. There is already a 19% increase due under the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness (PPF). But the teachers voted overwhelmingly not to participate in the PPF and they see its terms as totally inadequate for their needs. Clearly the views of these key educational professionals must be listened to and acted upon.

``By placing more emphasis on tax cuts than on increased spending in essential areas  of education, health and housing, this government has brought about the current wave of industrial unrest and disrupted  services to the public.. It should not now engage in a showdown with the teachers on the basis of the PPF. Wage increases under the PPF have already been undermined by rising prices for fuel, mortgages and foodstuffs and therefore the PPF cannot meet the needs of a whole range  of  workers, including the secondary teachers.''  ENDS


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