The Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO) is to seek a new cost-of-living allowance for teachers working and living in cities where they face higher costs.
As the Irish Examiner reports, the allowance would be similar to the London Weighting Allowance in Britain where certain civil servants and teachers earn more in recognition of the higher costs they face in the capital city.
Exactly how a living allowance would work here has yet to be worked out.
There is no set allowance under London weighting, but teachers are estimated to receive an annual salary boost of up to £9,331 (€10,500) in inner-London, and up to £4,201 (€4,780) in outer-London.
Following a motion passed in private session at the INTO's annual congress in Killarney, the union's central executive committee has been instructed to negotiate for the new allowance with the Department of Education.
Amidst an ongoing recruitment crisis, many schools in cities inside rent pressure zones have struggled in recent years to hire and keep teachers mainly due to accommodation costs.
Traditionally, many newly qualified teachers would look to Dublin after graduation for larger schools and more career opportunities.
However, due to increasing rents and the cost of living this practice has dropped off in recent years.
INTO deputy general secretary Deirdre O’Connor said: "There’s no getting over the difficulty that teachers can’t afford to live in places like Dublin and that schools in Dublin can’t recruit teachers, or they recruit teachers and then they find they can’t take up the post because they can’t get a place to live.
There are mixed views on the effectiveness of the London Weighting Allowance, she added.
“How do you help those who are at the lower end of the pay scale? Do you give an allowance to everybody who works or lives in those areas, regardless of whether they are at the bottom of the scale, or the top of the scale?
“We’re concerned particularly about the people on the lower end of the scale, starting their careers and finding it difficult.”
"Another element to be worked out is the quantum of the allowance that would allow the teacher to have a decent standard of living in a particular area, she said. “We don’t have a particular view on how or where it would work,” Ms O'Connor said.