At Leader’s Questions this morning ahead of today’s teacher’s protest, People Before Profit TD, Richard Boyd Barrett, accused the government of introducing “wage apartheid” with its new salaries for newly qualified teachers (NQT’s).
The starting salary for NQT’s is €30,700 – 25% lower than teachers who began their careers last year. Over the course of their working life new teachers will earn nearly a quarter of a million less than their colleagues who are just one year ahead of them.
Richard Boyd Barrett TD said: “The Taoiseach may feel “special” after his conversation with Angela Merkel on Sunday but this feeling of being special is not shared by the thousands of teachers who are going to march this afternoon against the cuts to education over the last years.
The Taoiseach was a teacher himself and should understand more than most, the impact of these cuts that have not only seen the NQT’s earning 25% less than their colleagues but have also seen drastic cuts at all levels of education. Class sizes have been increased, supports for children with special needs have been slashed and fees have been introduced at third level.
Now the government is threatening a further 77 million cut to the education budget. If the Taoiseach really wanted our children and those who care for them to feel “special” he would make sure that the super wealthy and the corporations paid the price of this crisis rather than presiding over the destruction of our education system.