Why teachers should vote NO to Croke Park

Date:

The Croke Park Extension (CPX) represents an all-out assault on the pay, pensions and conditions of employment of teachers. It is the latest attack on workers whose pay has been cut by 14% - 30% since 2008. CPX reverses many gains made by teachers, that took decades to achieve.

Credibility
In the April 2010 Eolas advocated a yes vote to Croke Park 1. Sheila Nunan, INTO General Secretary wrote, ‘If the Government reneges, then any deal will be off.’ (page 4). When the Irish Government decided to renege on CP1 by cutting another billion euro from public sector pay, CP1 should have been off. Instead, we have CPX. It cannot go ahead if workers vote no to it.

Is This The End of Cuts?
Government say that if we agree to CPX we will not be asked for any more cuts. We cannot trust them.
1. CP1 was due to last until 2014.
2. Despite savings of €1.5 Billion per year from CP1, no payments were made to the lower paid as outlined in CP1.
3. This government reneged on CP1 and may do so again. CPX (Section 1.14) allows that if circumstances must be ‘revisited’, ‘the Parties will meet to discuss ....the implications...’ They could very well come back for more.

Best Deal Possible?
According to the INTO website, CPX is the ‘best available from negotiations’. However, negotiations took place from a position of weakness. Our negotiators went into talks knowing that the talks were about cuts. This is a Very Divisive Deal. For the first time in our union’s history we are being asked to vote on a deal where some members are being cut more than others. This goes against the basic principle of trade union solidarity. In the last agreement, we did not vote to have our NQTs come into our profession on a lower pay scale. We did not see that divisive move coming. We must be alert to the detail in CPX now.

Pay Cuts
CPX guarantees pay cuts for all teachers.
• Those earning more than €65,000 will be cut 5.5% (€3,575 minimum)
• €3,575 is very close to the Special Duties Allowance of €3,769, so in effect promoted posts are being attacked.
• All teachers will lose their supervision and substitution payments of almost €1,800 and have to do more S&S hours. €1,769 x 40 years = a career loss of €70,760
• The loss of pension paid from S&S payments is a serious pay cut.
• All teachers will have their increments suspended as follows:
- Those on salaries below €35,000 (inclusive of allowances), a three month increment freeze will apply
- Those earning between €35,000 and €65,000 (inclusive of allowances) a three-month delay will apply to each of the next two increments.
- Those earning €65,000 or more (inclusive of allowances) there will be a three-year freeze on increments.
- For those already on the maximum of their incremental scale and earning under €65,000 inclusive of allowances) there will be:
- A reduction in annual leave entitlement of 6 days over the term of any agreement or - A cash deduction from salary of an amount equal in value either to 6 days annual leave days or to half of the most recent increment. (Whichever is lower applies).
• The continued moratorium on promoted posts means another cut to teachers’ career earnings e.g. €3,769 x 30 years = a career loss of €113,070

New Entrants (2011 and 2012)
Much is being made of the provision for a slight pay improvement for new entrants (2.11). The tweaking of the salary scales may look good on paper, but the facts are:
• Three separate pay scales remain.
• New teachers will have to wait until they have been teaching for 24 / 25 years before they will gain from CPX. Can they wait until they are 46 or 47 years old?
• The loss of S&S money is a pay cut of €1,769 (2011) and €1,560 (2012) per annum, amounting to almost €70,000 over a 40 year career.
• The loss of qualification allowances are a further pay cut of €4,426 (2012) per annum or €177,040 over a 40 year career and €208,022 over the new 47 year career.
• The cuts to S&S cover for various leave will lead to the end of “one day” subbing. Many NPTs rely on such work. This is a serious cut to their already compromised earning potential.
• A JobBridge type initiative is included in CPX. Working for free = a severe pay cut.
• Promoted posts have been abolished, meaning NQTs will lose another possible €113,070 over 30 years.
CPX does NOT “equalise” the serious cuts NQTs have endured. CEC promised that downward equalisation would never happen. Now it has. Cutting everybody’s pay to equalise the salary scale is wrong. INTO should insist one ONE salary scale.

JobBridge:
CPX in Section 1.11 (p.6) states that: “The public service will continue to support employment and activation measures for the unemployed, including apprenticeship/traineeship opportunities.” This is JobBridge. INTO have a Directive against JobBridge, but if we say yes to CPX, we will be told that we cannot issue a Directive against "JobBridge by a new name".

Extra Hours, Job Loses and Casualisation
• CPX demands that all teachers work an additional 12 hours S&S on top of the current 37 paid hours, however all 49 hours will now be unpaid.
• The 36 CP1 “Croke Park hours” still apply also – meaning that teachers will work for 85 hours per annum for no pay. This is the death knell of volunteerism.
• CPX will lead to further job losses: “ The Parties recognise that the provision of additional working hours and related productivity measures in this Agreement have the potential to facilitate further reductions in staff numbers over the course of the Agreement…The Parties accept that it is appropriate to make provision for annual pay bill savings in respect of such reductions.” Thus, the additional hours and changes in arrangement for S&S put jobs at risk.

Supervision and Substitution:
• S&S Payment will be abolished from September 2013 under CPX. (Section 2.18)
• The allowance is €1,769 gross, on a salary of €40,000 this equates to a 4.4% pay cut, on €50,000 it is 3.5%
• Substitute cover is removed for * self-certified sick leave; * first day of certified sick leave;
* bereavement in family; * illness in family; * force majeure

Those who opted to have their Supervision payments pensionable, will now have this pension contract broken. In other words, Government will keep those contributions!

Increments:
• A freeze on increments is a pay cut by another name.
• CPX freezes increments for ALL TEACHERS (See above). Sections 2.21 to 2.27
• Congress Resolution passed in 2012 states: a. notes the effective delivery to date of targets set by the Croke Park Agreement and particularly the fact that primary teachers have implemented in full the commitments given in the Agreement; b. deplores attacks on public servants and on the negotiated Croke Park Agreement which are often unfair, intemperate and fail to acknowledge the ongoing contribution by public servants as reflected in the Progress Reports on the Agreement; c. demands that the terms of the Public Service Agreement 2010 – 2014 be fully implemented; d. asserts that any cuts in incremental pay or allowances including supervision allowance, qualification allowance and promoted posts allowances shall be considered a breach of this Agreement; e. calls on the CEC to ballot INTO members on industrial action up to and including strike action, in the event of a breach of the Agreement.

Allowances:
Paragraph 2.29 (p. 10) of CPX states that “There will be full co-operation by the parties with the follow up to the Government’s Allowances Review.” This declares open season on all of our allowances.
• Allowances already Lost: NQT qualification allowances; S&S allowances; Teaching through Irish; Gaeltacht Grant; Island Allowance; all future Masters, Higher Diploma, PhD etc…; future Principals who act as Secretary to the Board of Management.
• Allowances Left to Cut: All current qualification allowances; Post holders allowance; Principals and Deputy Principals allowances; all other allowances.
• Just as we have seen downward pay equalisation, despite INTO assurances that such a thing would never happen, we can logically forecast downward qualification allowance equalisation i.e. possibly no qualification allowances for anybody if CPX passes.

Higher Pay:
• Teachers / Principals earning €65,000 - €80,000 = 5.5% pay cut
• Those earning over €65,000 will face deeper pay cuts starting at 5.5% and going up to10%. They will move back by the appropriate percentage to an off‐scale point on the incremental scale. This means they are not guaranteed to move back to the point they were on after three years. It is more likely they will move back to the point above the salary they move to as a result of the pay cuts.
• Teachers' promoted posts will in many cases put them over the 65K mentioned in this section. 5.5% of 65,000 = 3,575. In effect, a Special Duties Post allowance of €3,769 will be virtually wiped out by this cut. Will teachers give these posts up? Will they opt out of the extra work that will now in be unpaid? If they do, the posts will be lost to the system forever. Principals will be under further pressure. Other teachers may be forced to do the work unpaid.

Pension Cuts
• Those who retire prior to August 2013 will have their pension and lump sum based on their pre-cut pay. They may be effected by legislated pension cuts later.
• The pay cuts in CPX will impact on the pensions (and lump sum) of those who retire after August 2014.
• Pensions in excess of €32,500 will be cut through legislation.
• Pension paid into S&S will be lost under CPX, unless teachers retire immediately or possibly within the next seven years (to be confirmed). The government will keep the average €300 x 10 years contributions paid by members.

Individual Performance Management and Assessment
There is much in the agreement about dealing with underperformance and the invoking of disciplinary procedures to do so.
• Individual managers (Principals?) are to be held accountable for staff performance. “During the lifetime of this agreement, the introduction of performance management systems will be accelerated at the level of the individual in all areas of the public service where they do not currently exist…Where necessary, existing arrangements will be revised to ensure that…the performance of individual public servants is managed and assessed against agreed objectives.” (3.16) CPX will undermine the remaining vestiges of collegiality in our schools.
• In the context of School Self Evaluation, there is a danger that the following wording in CPX could be used to sign principals up to proposals that have been opposed previously: “Measures will be introduced to further develop and enhance a culture of performance across the management cohort of the public service” (page 15).
• CPX will thus very likely lead to the denial of increments for “underperformance”. Increment freezes may be permanent.

If we VOTE NO, what is the worst that can happen?
• CP1 stays in place.
• The government say they will legislate to cut pay. Let them try. We can lobby every backbencher in the country and let them know our views. INTO can fight these cuts if we vote NO, they can’t if we vote yes.
• The Government will have broken CP1 if they legislate to cut our pay, and we can then stop implementing CP1 (including the CP hours!) and stop co-operating with initiatives. For example, if the Government threaten to cut supervision payments, we respond that we will therefore not DO supervision.
• Voting ‘no’ does not automatically mean we go on strike. Industrial Action is not just all out strike, but can be sustained campaigns of work to rule, or non-cooperation.

What Is the Alternative?
• A policy of appeasement has not stopped the attacks on our pay and conditions.
• A massive NO vote is required to protect our pay, conditions and the education services.
• The top 10,000 earn €6 Billion gross (€600,000 each) and have an effective tax rate of 39%. The government could take €1 Billion from these and they would still have €500,000 each!
• A 1% increase in the higher band of taxation would generate the €1billion savings required.

Please use your Vote and Vote NO to this very bad deal. Bad for ALL teachers.


 

This text was posted to the Voice for Teachers Facebook page, we reproduce it here because its a very detailed and useful explanation of why Croke Park II is bad for anyone working in the education sector.  The Dublin North INTO branches 4 page leaflet is also worth reading, printing out and distributing.

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