Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) president Joanne Irwin has described the proposed review of two tier pay scales included in the draft public service pay deal as “wholly inadequate”.

The pay of new entrants to teaching is a particularly thorny issue because of the large numbers recruited on lower pay scales during the recession, to cater for rising school enrolments.

While much of the gap has been closed over the past year, teacher unions have been demanding restoration of full pay equality.

The draft agreement does not deliver that, but allows for an examination over a twelve month period in 2018, with application of any outcome no sooner than 2021.

Ms Irwin said that does not “fairly address the major issue of new entrant pay”, describing it as “wholly inadequate”.

She added: “While acknowledging the general pay restoration measures set out in the draft proposal, ending the unacceptable and inequitable two-tier pay system was the key priority for us on entering these negotiations.

“Wherever possible, we pushed the issue forward during the process.

“It remains completely unacceptable to us that two colleagues, recruited within days of one another, are paid significantly different rates for carrying out the same work.

“TUI has prioritised and campaigned on this issue and some progress has been made. However, the draft proposed agreement now before us would have the effect of preventing further progress for at least three years.

“At a time when schools are struggling to attract teachers for an increasing number of subjects due to more lucrative options in other employments, the process of full pay equalisation requires urgent acceleration, not delay.”

The TUI executive is meeting later today to discuss the draft agreement.