December 10 In the Press

Substitute teachers face another Christmas with no pay as inequality strikes again

By Eleanor McGillie

SUBSTITUTE teachers in Northern Ireland are facing Christmas without holiday pay because employers across the province continue to ignore their rights, according to the leading teachers’ union.

The Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO) says sub teachers are being held at ransom because employers are not offering them full time contracts and, in spite of having more than four years’ teaching experience, their rights are being side-lined.

Sub teachers, who have been working for more than four years, are not being granted the same rights as their full time counterparts in schools, and, with 8,000 substitute teacher’s currently on the substitute register, that’s a lot of families missing out on income they are entitled to.

Tony Carlin, a senior official at INTO, says this inequality must be addressed by employers and said INTO will pledge its support to its members who wish to have their rights recognised through tribunal or court action.

Mr Carlin said: “Here we are on the mouth of Christmas and across the province there are sub teachers with four or more years of teaching experience who will not be getting Christmas holiday pay in spite of their entitlements.

“But it’s not just Christmas. This inequality continues throughout the year. If a sub teacher takes sick, they do not get sick pay. They do not get holiday pay. Further to this, substitute teachers, with four years plus experience, are being laid off with only five days’ notice. These teachers are less favourably treated when it comes to promotions within a school as well as being disadvantaged with respect to their overall professional development.

“This is a blatant inequality being imposed on substitute teachers who are an important part of the education system. They backfill for absent teachers and allow principals to be released from classroom teaching to undertake the management roles associated with their school.

“INTO has indicated to employers that we are not prepared to accept this inequality. If employers resist we will actively seek improvements for our members’ rights through the tribunals and courts.

“Substitute teachers need to be recognised and valued as an important facet of the education system and in doing so all parties need to urgently engage to address these glaring inequalities relating to their pay and terms and conditions of employment.”

Mr Carlin said a considerable number of such teachers travel from school to school hoping to gain permanent employment but this on-going inequality prevents this from happening.

He added: “Sub teachers are an essential component in the education system. They ensure children’s education is of the required professional standard.”

There are currently over 8,000 teachers on the substitute register but it’s estimated that between 1,500 and 2,000 qualified teachers are still looking for work.

 

ENDS:

NOTES TO EDITOR:

  • INTO is the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation. It is the largest teachers’ union in Ireland. INTO has a Northern Office and a Southern Office. The Northern Office is based at Vere Foster House, 23 College Gardens, Belfast.
  • For interview requests or further information contact Eleanor McGillie of MGMPR Ltd on 028 3756 9569 | 07709805379| PR Northern Ireland | Public Relations Northern Ireland | Brand Journalism Northern Ireland | Brand Journalism UK | Brand Journalism Experts | Education PR Northern Ireland

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