Classrooms were empty around Laois and Ireland for big chunks of the pandemic as teaching took place remotely
Trade unions representing thousands of teachers in Ireland want a Covid-19 bonus payment for their "extraordinary efforts" during the pandemic.
The Teachers' Union of Ireland (TUI) along with the Irish National Teachers' Organisation (INTO) and The Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI) made the demand in a joint statement.
The unions insist contribution to remote teaching and keeping schools open has been of crucial importance in meeting the needs of young people during this difficult time.
“Teachers’ extraordinary efforts – both face-to-face with their pupils in crowded classrooms and in the online learning space – have allowed schools to continue to prioritise teaching and learning while meeting children/young people’s needs,” they said, although no formal discussions have taken place with the government.
“We would expect to be included in any discussions around the acknowledgement of workers’ contributions during the pandemic", they added.
The general secretary of TUI, Michael Gillespie, has suggested that one option could include "getting rid of unequal pay-scales", which has seen teachers hired since 2011 earn less than older colleagues.
Minister for Public Expenditure Michael McGrath has warned that the bonus could cost €1 billion, while the bid by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation and other health unions for 10 days’ extra leave brings “significant costs”.
Gardaí have also insisted on receiving this bonus for frontline workers, arguing that the drop in crime over the pandemic is no reason to leave them out and they should receive "no more no less" than other State workers.
The Garda Representative Association (GRA) and the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) have so far not raised the issue in talks with the Government.
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