In 2010 a two tiered pay system was introduced for teacher salaries. Any teachers that entered the profession after 2010 are paid less than their counterparts.
Pay for all teachers was reduced in the emergency legislation passed in 2010, but newer teachers where hit harder with a further decrease of 14% in their salary while being expected to carry out the same work. Given that many positions for the first years are on a part-time basis they are left struggling on low incomes.
At the time it could have been argued that it was necessary given the countries finances, but is it still required?
The teachers themselves say no. Many have left the country in search of better condition abroad, others have given up teaching entirely. Many of those that remained have left the unions that they feel have failed to represent them adequately.
The starting salary for a new teacher is €8,500 less than it was before the 2010 legislation at just over €30,000 per year. During the course of a 40-year career a new teacher can expect to make €250,000 less than their counterparts who were hired before 2010. All of this together can leave those who might otherwise wish to become a teach discouraged from entering the profression, and with the demand for smaller class sizes and the children attending school increasing every year it has to be wondered where the new teachers will come from.
Whoever finds themselves in government following the election will have to tackle this issue head on.