General Secretary calls on members to back new deal

INTO General Secretary John Boyle is encouraging members to accept the latest pay offer under the review of Building Momentum, in line with the recommendation of the union’s Central Executive Committee (CEC) decision.

Against the backdrop of soaring inflation, public service unions including the INTO invoked a review clause in the agreement last March with a view to significantly improving members’ pay in light of the cost-of-living crisis.

INTO General Secretary John Boyle said:

When negotiations eventually began on Thursday 16 June, it soon became clear the Government was not prepared to make a credible pay offer. Although ICTU representatives, myself included, managed to get government to marginally increase their initial offer, we were not prepared to accept an offer that was simply too low to have a meaningful impact on our members’ income. So, after seventeen hours, the talks collapsed.

“When negotiations stalled during the summer, public service unions were left with little choice but to threaten a coordinated campaign of industrial action. This position successfully pressured the Government to return to intensive negotiations, culminating in the Review of Building Momentum, the draft pay agreement that is now being put to ballot.

“From entering negotiations on Wednesday 16 June, to the conclusion of talks on the morning of Tuesday, 30 August, the negotiation team secured an increase to the total value of the pay deal from €950m to €1.6bn.

“The agreement we have negotiated, which the INTO Central Executive Committee has scrutinised and endorsed, is, as ICTU President Kevin Callinan put it, the best that could currently be achieved through negotiations.

“Let me be clear though, that doesn’t mean it’s going to fully offset the impact of inflation, including the surge in energy costs all workers are likely to face this winter. But it brings a degree of certainty in a time of great uncertainty. As a union, this isn’t the end of our job either. We will continue to stand up for our members in both the coming budget, where all public service unions are demanding a substantial cost of living package, and subsequently in the next round of pay talks that are likely to commence after Easter next year.

“I’m asking members to read the informational Eolas and inform yourself on what’s included in this offer. Our Central Executive Committee, all of whom are practicing teachers have been briefed at every stage of the negotiations. They have carefully considered what’s in the deal, consulted with local activists and strongly recommend that members endorse the deal with a yes vote.

“As your General Secretary, I want to echo that recommendation. I genuinely believe this is the best we could secure now. Let’s bank these significant increases and continue our work to address the challenges our members are facing on issues such as teacher supply, substitution and workload.”

What’s in the deal

  • A 3% increase on salaries and allowances backdated to 2 February 2022, which will be paid in a lump sum later in this school term if the review of Building Momentum is ratified next month.
  • A 2% increase on salaries and allowances from 1 March 2023.
  • A 1.5% increase on salaries and allowances or €750 a year (whichever is greater) from 1 October 2023
  • Within the existing agreement, a 1% increase or €500 a year (whichever is greater) is applicable from 1 October 2022.

The guaranteed minimum payments of €500 a year and €750 a year mean those who earn below €50,000 will receive higher-percentage increases that higher-paid colleagues.

Furthermore, the Review of Building Momentum offers an increase of at least 6.5% for all members, in addition to uplifts already contained in Building Momentum.

There are no additional productivity measures in the proposed package. It reaffirms the measures in the original Building Momentum agreement. While there are no additional non-pay elements in this specific package, the Government came to the negotiations promising that economy-wide cost-of-living supports would accompany any pay improvements. The trade union movement intends to ensure that Government keeps those promises when the Budget is announced in a fortnight’s time.

If the agreement is ratified next month, the first 3% backdated to 2 February 2022 will appear as a lump sum in November/ December for members of unions covered by the agreement. This is designed to alleviate the pressure on members in the lead up to Christmas.

Mr Boyle said:

In the sure knowledge that decisions are made by those who show up, I urge every member to become familiar with the factual information provided by your union and then to cast your ballot in favour of the proposals, which include significant salary increases that the CEC and I are very keen to secure for you.”

Useful documents

  • Eolas (English and Irish), Click here.
  • Voting Hub, Ballot information FAQs on the proposed agreement, Click here.