Why Education workers should Vote no to the Public Sector Agreement


This text is currently being distributed in leaflet form by the Vote No to the Public Sector Agreement campaign within the Irish National Teachers Organisation. As well as arguing why the agreement is bad for education workers in the public sector it also explains why it is also bad for other public sector workers.  If you want to distribute the leaflet you'll find a link to a PDF of it at the bottom of the text.

'Public Service Agreement 2010 – 2014'
Why you must Vote No


  • a longer working week
  • a completely re-written teaching contract
  • a yellow pack pension for new teachers
  • an end to pension parity
  • a continuation of the moratorium on promoted posts
  • increments tied to ‘performance management’
  • pay cuts, pension levy, income and health levies left in place
  • benchmarking award and deferred pay awards left unpaid

If not, you have to vote No to this deal and convince your colleagues to do so as well. This deal will be voted on at postal ballots after Easter. Inside this leaflet are the reasons why we should all vote No. Please copy it and circulate it as widely as possible.

This leaflet was produced by a group of INTO members across a number of branches. We can be contacted via Email intovoteno@gmail.com, on facebook by searching ‘intovoteno’ or by text/phone on 087 7582669


A complete rewriting of the teaching contract – the deal commits us to accept the as yet unknown outcome of a “comprehensive review and revision of the teaching contract...to be completed in advance of the start of the 2010/11 school year”

An extra hour’s work per week for “...at the discretion of management, school planning, continuous professional development, induction, substitution and supervision (including supervision immediately before and after school times). This list is not exhaustive.”

These two issues combined could potentially lead to the abolition of substitution payments and Posts of Responsibility.
An inferior pension arrangement for new entrants to the teaching profession – the deal commits us to accepting the as yet un- known outcome of “consultations” “in time for legislation to be enacted to allow for the introduction of the scheme on 1 January 2011”

An end to pension parity with “discussions [to] take place on the method of determining pension increases for existing public service pension- ers and current public servants...”

The moratorium on the filling of promoted posts will stay in place “until numbers...have fallen to the appropriate level specified...” While the deal does not specify an “appropriate level” we can be certain that posts already lost will not be replaced and that for the foreseeable future the moratorium will remain in place.

Payment of increments will be dependent on reaching unspecified ‘performance management’ targets

The pay cuts imposed on our salaries in the December budget will remain in place until at least sometime in 2012. Even then we have no guarantees whatever that there will be any restoration of our pay. An “Implementation Body” will verify whether vague and unspecified “sufficient savings” have been identified but there is no commitment that any or all of these savings will actually be used to reverse the pay cuts. The “priority” which will be given to “public servants with pay rates of €35,000 or less” by the Implementation Body’s Spring 2011 “review” must be seen in this context. Attempts to sell this deal as being weighted in favour of the low-paid are thus meaningless.

The Pension levy will remain in place.

The Income and Health Levies will remain

The principals’ Benchmarking award will remain unpaid

Pay increases due to us in 2009 under ‘Towards 2016, Transitional Agreement’ will remain unpaid

“No cost-increasing claims...for improvements in pay or conditions of employment...” can be made during the lifetime of the deal (i.e. before December 2014) – no matter how much the cost of living might increase by during that time.

“Strikes or other forms of industrial action...are precluded”. This means that if your contracts or pensions are fundamentally changed, you can do nothing about it.

“No further reductions in the pay rates of serving public servants”

HOWEVER this is “subject to no currently unforeseen budgetary deterioration”. Even in the 24 hour period fol- lowing the publication of the deal there were two “unforeseen budgetary deteriorations” – the need to pour a further €10billion into Anglo Irish Bank, and the appointment of administrators to the Quinn Insurance Group. We all know that there will be plenty of “unforeseen budgetary deteriorations” in the next 4 years.

If the cost of living increases over the next 4 years, a pay freeze is a de facto pay cut.

The reference to “serving public servants” opens the door to the possible introduction of lower pay rates for
new entrants to the profession.

As bad as this deal is for members of the INTO and other teacher unions, it is even worse for members of other public service unions.

The deal will get rid of a huge number of gains made by unions over decades and will open the door to widespread job losses, re-deployment and outsourcing. Fewer workers will be expected to deliver a better service for less money. Frontline workers such as nurses and emergency service workers will have their working time “reorganised” “over an extended (8a.m. to 8p.m.) day....and/or five over seven day basis”. Family-friendly work practices are under threat.

Acceptance of the deal means that the trade union movement will have accepted the government’s political agenda.
On its website on 1st April the ICTU published a document called “Shifting the Burden” which begins “In the latter half of 2009, the Government formulated a plan to deal with the economic crisis. ... at its core, lies a determination to load the full cost of the collapse onto working people and the poor. .”

If we reject this deal, what has changed? The government still has their agenda and the trade union movement need to respond. Conflict with the government will at least have the effect of forcing the trade union agenda onto the mainstream political agenda.

There must be an equitable tax-based solution to this crisis and we cannot accept the political strategy of making ordinary workers pay. Neither should we accept that billions of our money should be poured into Anglo Irish Bank and NAMA to bail out wealthy bankers and property developers.

Where did our negotiators get their mandate?
Congress ’08 passed a motion opposing supervision before and after school hours. Congress ’09 passed a motion including: “calls on the CEC to oppose most vigorously all attempts by the Government to change teacher pay and working conditions or to impose a further freeze on salaries”

Congress is the supreme decision-making body of the INTO. How can our negotiators go into talks on an agenda that is so contrary to stated INTO policy? This raises serious questions about democratic processes within the union.

PDF file of this leaflet for you to print out and distribute

Text source: INTO Vote no campaign, email intovoteno@gmail.com or ring 087 7582669 or on Facebook