Letter published in Irish Times Friday, Dec 31
Push to increase teaching load
Madam, – Your Education Correspondent, Seán Flynn (Home News, December 29th) referred to a message I sent to colleagues in institutes of technology recently. He also quoted Prof Von Prondzynski, who is not from our sector, as saying that holidays in institutes of technology were “hard to defend”. In addition, Mr Flynn refers to a current annual workload of 560 hours per year. The Department of Education is attempting to enforce an annual teaching load of a minimum of 560 hours per year in addition to the additional hour per week stipulated in the Croke Park deal. Workload is a different matter.
The workload of lecturers at third level involves both teaching and scholarship. Scholarship includes inter alia research, creative writing and maintenance of world-class practical skills in a rapidly changing world.
Some commentators take no account of the number of post- graduate students supervised, the amount of research and scholarship carried out, the number of publications produced, the weight of course direction and co-ordination undertaken, or the course reviews completed (not to mention lecture preparation and task correction).
Under the Croke Park deal the management side is demanding that the teaching load be increased to 20 plus one hours per week for lecturers and 22 plus one hours for assistant lecturers. A survey commissioned by TUI some years ago concluded that the current 16/18 hour lecturing load was equivalent to a 50-54 hour working week of teaching and related duties alone. It is extremely difficult to conduct the degree of scholarship appropriate to a third-level institution in the context of such a teaching load.
Currently many lecturers struggle on with scholarly activity during term time and then put on a big push during the holidays. Any agreement to reduce the vacation period would lead to an extension of teaching into the holiday period by the authorities.
The attempt by institutes and Government to reduce vacation periods in addition to imposing the biggest teaching load in Western Europe on lecturing staff cannot fail to damage the institutes and literally make the adequate performance of full academic duties impossible.
It is clear that government wishes to effectively reduce the institutes to teaching-only institutions.
The development of institutes of technology has been a hugely successful initiative in Irish education. Could the Government that oversaw the destruction of the banks be allowed to seriously damage third-level education also? – Yours, etc,
PADDY HEALY, 086-4183732
The Teachers’ Union of Ireland today criticised the failure of government to invest meaningfully in education during the boom years after an OECD survey showed the country languishing in the relegation zone in a league table of investment in education.
The report also highlights that Irish teachers work considerably more hours than their European counterparts while the ratio of students to teachers is also higher than the European average. more.
Thanks to 9th level ireland for keeping note of these articles. The lifting of this directive could cause huge pressure on individual teachers. Let’s see how they respond to this likelihood..
The agenda of the Hunt review is revealing itself. Redundancies and redeployment are in the air.. More important than ever to resist the imposition of the Croke park Deal
TUI was able to reverse this development in WIT.
TUI at WIT and at DIT successfully resisted outsourcing of musical instrument teaching some years ago
The key point is that TUI would not be able to resist such initiatives under Croke Park Deal.
Outsourcing from Phoenix
Shortly afterwards, the TUI put its foot down. Angered already at the failure, as promised, to consult on new cost-cutting or other measures and outraged at Martin’s dual role, they refused to co-operate with WEA and demanded that the English language courses be brought back into WIT. There was even a threat to picket the WEA by TUI members. The college authorities quickly folded and after this academic year has been completed, all Saudi English language students will be taught at WIT by college staff.“
IFUT votes 68% no—three of four teacher unions have now voted no—IFUT has today reiterated that it will not be bound by majority decision of Public Service unions
Recent ballot outcomes are as follows:
TUI No 75%, Yes 25%
ASTI No 62%, Yes 38%
IFUT No 68% Yes 32%
INTO No 35%, Yes 65%
CPSU has already had a 67% NO Vote
“OPINION: Union votes on changes in conditions of work can seem democratic while steamrolling minorities who are directly affected, writes PETER MacMENAMIN
AT ALL times, democracy is a very delicate and sensitive concept. This is particularly true in industrial relations. The normal principle of “majority rule” doesn’t and shouldn’t always apply; it is easy to fall into the trap of the tyranny of the majority, whereby a majority can steamroll over a minority, thereby ignoring the legitimate interests of that minority. This is not democracy, which should always be judged by how it deals with legitimate minority interests.”
(Irish Times, 15th April)
Some facts about the recession – Drafted by Eddie Conlon TUI
The Public Sector
Far from what the government would have us believe the Irish Public Sector is not bloated. The 2008 OECD Review of public services showed that spending on public services in Ireland in 2005 was third lowest of 25 OECD countries.
CSO data show s that current public spending dropped from 33.6% of GDP in 1996 to 28.5% in 2005.
According to CSO between December 08 and Sept 09 public sector numbers have fallen by 12,400. In education the reduction was 7,800.
Recent EU data shows that spending on social protection in Ireland was 18.2% of GDP in 2006 compared to an EU average of 27%. Welfare rates are the fifth lowest in the EU.
In response to a Dail Question from Joan Burton on 21 Oct 2009 the following information was given in relation to the incomes in the public sector and more generally
Income Tax Year 2007
|Public Sector Employees||All Employees|
|Range of Gross income||Total Number||Total Number|
|€0 – €10,000||49,747||414,298|
|€10,001 – €20,000||64,116||392,697|
|€20,001 – €30,000||69,766||379,180|
|€30,001 – €40,000||69,954||263,576|
|€40,001 – €50,000||55,586||167,904|
|€50,001 – €60,000||34,562||103,273|
|€60,001 – €70,000||22,555||67,776|
|€70,001 – €80,000||15,635||45,237|
|€80,001 – €90,000||10,379||29,668|
|€90,001 – €100,000||7,045||19,868|
In addition, the number of all PAYE workers earning less than the average industrial wage of €32,730 in 2007 was 1,267,865, of which 201,727 were public sector employees.
We can see from this that:
Many workers are very are very poorly paid:
67% earn less than the average industrial wage (compare this with the top earners below)
49% of public servants earn less than the average industrial wage. 75% earn less than 50,000
Of those who earn over 100,000
33% are in the public sector while 67% are in the private sector. That’s 31,516 in the private sector.
According to the Revenue Commissioners there were 20,840 self employed people earning over 100,000 in 2004
Its hard to argue that all public sector workers should take all the pain while those on over 100,000 in the private sector are asked for nothing.
Tax and High Earners (2008) (see Vincent Browne Irish Times 18 March 2009)
The government has been arguing that the top 6% of earners pay almost half of all income tax and therefore it cant be increased but:
The top 6% with over 100,000 get 28% of total income, an average of 190,699 each: That’s 13 times the average for the bottom 50% of earners
The top 6% pay on average 27% of their income in tax
24,000 earn between 200 and 500,000: an average of 204,207 (14 times the average of the bottom 50%)
3946 earn between 500,000 and 1 million: average = 464,452 (32 times…)
1447 earn 1m + : average = 1.6m (110 times the average…)
If you were to increase the proportion of their income they pay in tax from 27% to 32% (and why stop there) you would raise 1.5b (all the pay cuts for the public sector or all the cuts in services)
In a later article in the Irish Times (Com Keena 20/3/2009) it emerged that the Revenue figures on which Brownes analysis was based were based on taxable units (in many cases couples) rather than individual taxpayers.
The data for individuals shows that far from the top earners with over 100,000 paying half of all tax they only pay 31.4%. Further
Those between 30 and 100,000 pay 57% of income tax
Those between 30 and 50,000 have 30% of income and pay 28% of all income tax.
9,129 people (0.3% of earners) earned 6.7b (6.6% of all income)
The Super Rich
5% had 40% of all wealth
That’s 320b or an average of 4.2b per household
There were 33,000 millionaires
UNITE has estimated that their assets are probably now worth about 250b and have called for a levy on them.
ICTU say in their 10 Point Plan For A Better Fairer Way
“We know that the top 1 per cent of the population made about €75 billion during the boom era. Specifically, it can be computed from revenue data that a minimum of €66 billion was made by individuals between 2002 and 2008 – almost €10 billion a year. The top 1 per cent in 2007 held 20 per cent of the wealth, the top 2 per cent held 30 per cent and the top 5 per cent held 40 per
cent. How can this money have disappeared because for every developer who paid over the odds for land there had to be an owner who received the money? “
The rich list printed in the Sunday Independent at the end of March shows that the top 300 have €50 billion between them
The most recent budget in December took €73m off millionaires but €760m of social welfare recipients.
ICTU claim that in 2009 the share of wages in national income fell by €5b while the share of profits from trade, farms and rent increased by €3 billion.
In the year to March 2010 there was an increase in the Live Register of 65,918 (+17.9%).
There are 433,000 people unemployed.
In 2009 unemployment increased by nearly 105,000. It has more than doubled since March 2008. It has increased by 236,000 since March 2008. It was 5.2% then and is now 13.4%.
In the 1980s it peaked at 226,000 and took four years to rise from 6% (1979) to 14% (1984).
Cutting Your Way Out of the Boom: Borrowing and Debt
While the deficit is not the key issue for us, unemployment is, it is quite clear that the policy the government is pursuing won’t even reduce the deficit. How do we know this?
First, we have had three budgets since October 08 and after each the deficit has got worse.
In July 08 the deficit was 6.7b, in July 09 it was 16.4b and in Oct it was 20b. It was 24.6 b in December 2009.
Government receipts for the first 3 months of 2101 are down by 3.9b. Tax receipts are 15% lower than for the same period last year.
Remember that the deficit in 2010 included 4b paid to Anglo Irish Bank and 3b to recapitalise AIB and Bank of Ireland. (These are the sums that are coming out of current revenue. Further payments totalling 4b are being made for the National Pension Reserve Fund)
Secondly, in April the ESRI looked at some proposals that would save the government €1b . One of them was a reduction of 17,000 jobs in health and education. This happens to be the same number proposed by the Mc Carthy Report.
The ESRI analysis showed that after two years this proposal would lead to:
1% fall in GDP (1.2b), a 1% fall in consumption (750m) and an increase in unemployment of 0.7%.
Given all this it only leads to a 0.1% fall in the borrowing requirement. A cut of 1b in fact turns into a saving of 490m but GDP goes down. We cut national income by 1.2b to make a saving of 490m.
They also looked at the impact of a 3.8% wage cut in the public sector. This lead to a fall of 0.4% in GNP. 0.9% in consumption and 0.1% in unemployment. The borrowing requirement falls by a mere 0.3%
The ESRI looked at a range of proposals (not proposals we would make) such as pay cuts, a property tax, a carbon tax and come to the conclusion that “cuts in public sector employment have the biggest negative impact on GDP and GNP both in the short-term and the long-term”.
UNITE have argued that there is a lot of scaremongering about the level of debt. EU projections produced in Spring 2009 show that overall debt as a percentage of GDP will be 79.4% in the EU (84% in the Euro zone) and 73% in Ireland. We could borrow 12b over the above the governments projections and still be below the Eurozone average.
The table (below) from the ICTU document Congress 10 Point Plan For A Better Fairer Way published November 2, 2009 shows projected level of debt in 2010 in the EU.
1.The problem in the economy is lack of demand not the debt. We need productive investment to create jobs and increase demand. We can barrow and raise taxes from the rich to do so.
2.Its mad to cut the income of poor people and low and middle earners as they spend most of their income. The rich don’t. That’s why we should tax their income and assets because they are not being used productively.
3.Cutting public services now will lead to long-term damage. We are still recovering from cuts in the health services in the 1980s.
4.Its completely inequitable that millionaires pay tax at the same rate as those earning modest incomes. The Standard Rate Cut Off for a single person is 36,400 while it is 45,400 for a married couple with one person working.
Eddie Conlon March 2010
Agreed Education Sector Agenda
It must be understood that this is one of Four Agreed Sectoral Documents which together form the Transformation Agenda. Public Services Committee(ICTU) have now explicitly accepted continuation of the pension levy and the continuation of the staffing moratorium (which inter alia bans the filling of Posts of Responsibility in Primary and second level schools and reduces staffing at third level). The four sectoral documents are designed to save the government as much money as would be saved by pay cuts over the coming years. The Agreed Education Sector Agenda is also governed by the General Public Services Agreement which is analysed elsewhere in this Blog
Bracketed Comments in italics below are mine–PH
The following range of measures are designed to facilitate the most effective and efficient use of resources and to maximise the quality of educational delivery.
* The provision, with effect from the start of the 2010/11 school year, of an additional hour per week to be available to facilitate, 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. (The clause could have wideranging implications. It should be understood in the context of the agreement to continue the banning of replacement for Posts of Responsibility. For example in a 40 teacher school , the principal would now have 40 hours per week for non-teaching duties provided free by teachers. One effect would be that principals could avoid some of the duties of unreplaced PORs being loaded on them The extra duty hour also applies to existing POR holders. In the negotiations with the teacher general secretaries the Department included teaching in the duties mentioned. This was removed during the negotiations and restricted to non-teaching tasks. Suggestions that this is merely a document tabled by Department are complete nonsense).
· With effect from the start of the 2010/11 school year, post-primary teachers to be available for three timetabled class periods per week under the supervision and substitution scheme (while leaving the current maximum number of hours used per teacher per week under this scheme the same as at present).
· Full implementation of new procedures providing for redeployment of surplus teachers, to commence from January 2010 and to be fully implemented for the start of the 2010/11 school year.
(There are commitments to cross-sectoral redeployment in existing agreements. One source of problems in implementing the commitment is that some voluntary secondary schools refuse to accept transferees. It is not clear whether “new procedures” are additional to the commitments in existing national agreements. The three General secretaries with members in this area should be asked to explain. In any event the pay cut is a breach of T2016 by the employer. The moratorium is a breach of all previous national agreements. Teacher unions, therefore, have no obligation to honour the commitments on redeployment given in these agreements)
· A comprehensive review and revision of the teaching contract to identify and remove any impediments to the provision of efficient and effective teaching to students in all sectors. This review and revision to be completed in advance of the start of the 2010/11 school year.
(This is the most dangerous provision of all. To renegotiate teachers contracts in the contexts of temporary pay cuts and threats of further pay cuts and the continuation of the ban on replacing PORs risks losing everything we have gained since the Ryan Report on PORs in the late sixties. Teachers with huge mortgages, suffering from pension levy and pay cuts could be put in the position of balloting on a proposal to restore pay cuts over time in return for a bonfire of all gains made by the union over 40 years. I believe that the neo-liberal managerialists in Dept of Finance, Dept of Education and in the Cabinet, have a new business style model for the running of schools which would remove most promotional posts as is being demanded by Batt O’Keefe. A teacher who by end of service would have gained an AP post would loose over 9,000 Euro per annum while serving and 4,500Euro per year while on pension!This would be a pay cut in another form!Teaching could become one of the few grades in the public service with virtually no promotional posts! )
Institutes of Technology
· The completion by 30 April 2010 of all elements of the review of the academic employment contract currently in train.
(At meetings of the national negotiating Machinery for Institutes of Technology (IR Forum) before pay cuts, the Department and Institute managements sought elimination of the norm of 16 hours per week time-tabled lectures for lecturers and 18 hours per week for assistant lecturers to be replaced by an annual commitment to 560 and 630 lecturing hours. This could mean weekly lecturing loads of 22 and 24 hours. Renegotiation of employment contracts under threat of retention of existing pay cuts and new pay cut would be suicidal. A series of Meetings of IR Forum to discuss these matters has now been scheduled with the first meeting to be held on March 29—in advance of TUI annual Congress )
· With effect from the start of the 2010/11 academic year, the provision of an additional hour per week to be available to facilitate, at the discretion of management, all educational activities in the Institutes. This usage to be informed by the outcome of the review referred to above.
( As in second level, the intention is to replace many head of school/head of department posts with un-paid labour of lecturers. Departments of Finance and Education have planned the introduction of a neo-liberal business model of academic management . See university section below )
· Flexible delivery of new courses specifically targeted at unemployed individuals.
(already such courses are been delivered on a casual hourly paid basis. This would increase the threat of redeployment to craft lecturers. See below)
· Implementation of redeployment schemes for academic, administrative, technical and support staff across the Institutes and between Institutes and the wider public service as appropriate with effect from the start of the 2010/11 academic year. (This would enable the Department to redeploy lecturers not only between Institutes of Technology but into other parts of the public service such as Fas, CERT(Failte Ireland), Board of Works etc. The immediate threat is to teachers of apprentices and culinary arts subjects. Unless government takes an initiate to rescue apprenticeship, over 200 craft lecturers will be surplus to requirements. Rationalisation of provision in science, engineering and business could also lead to redeployment)
Universities and other Higher Education Institutes
· With effect from the start of the 2010/11 academic year, the provision of an additional hour per week to be available to facilitate, at the discretion of management, teaching and learning in the university/institute. (I wonder what “management” will make of this?)
· Co-operation with the introduction of academic workload management and full economic costing models and with the compilation of associated data to support these. (FEC! FEC! FEC! This is not a rude expression by a busy lectiurer as two hours is spent filling in a glorified time-sheet. It is an acronym for Full Economic Costing. Universities are to be run like companies “delivering services” I can feel the blood pressure of academics rising at the prospect. The notion that academics are habitual “skivers” who require business style management by administrative “superiors” is quite outrageous)
· Co-operation with redeployment/re-organisation/rationalisation arising from the review of Higher Education strategy and changing economic and social circumstances.
(This is so comprehensive that it could mean anything. Above all, it must mean the abolition of TENURE which is held with a single university and is incompatible with re-deployment between universities. What if a person was re-deployed to a third level institution where tenure did not apply? The importance of TENURE as a bullwork of democracy has been demonstrated by the free contribution of academic economists on the current economic crisis. Tenure is a bullwork of democracy!Agreement with this clause would permit government to amend the UNIVERSITIES ACT without opposition.)
- A comprehensive review and revision of employment contracts to identify and remove any impediments to the development of an optimum teaching, learning and research environment. This review and revision to be completed in advance of the start of the 2010/11 academic year. (The re-negotiation of contracts in the context of the threatened retention of existing pay cuts and the imposition of further pay cuts would not only destroy conditions of service of academics but would be certain to seriously damage Irish education and scholarship).