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Do you need to ask the Teaching Council for a refund?

Do you need to ask the Teaching Council for a refund?
According to an article written by Hilary McGann in The Sunday Times today, thousands of teachers were “duped” into paying millions of euros in registration fees to the Teaching Council for five years (2008-2013).
http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/news/ireland/article1647552.ece
Registration only became compulsory in 2014, meaning that more than 80,000 teachers paid registration fees needlessly, losing at least €450 each over five years. €90 per annum per teacher.
The Teaching Council also charged some teachers a late charge of an additional €10. One of Ms. McGann’s sources (Limerick solicitor Bryan Sweeney), is quoted as saying that the Teaching Council was not entitled to sanction teachers who did not renew their registration before the commencement of that part of the Teaching Council Act in 2014.
Ms. McGann quotes the Teaching Council as stating that it “will not issue refunds to teachers who felt they had been misled”.
If you feel that you were misled or “duped” into paying at least €450 needlessly to the Teaching Council between 2008 and 2013, perhaps you would like to ask the Teaching Council for a refund?
You can email your complaint to the current Chairperson of the Teaching Council, Micheál Ó Gríofa, at mogriofa@member.teachingcouncil.ie
or to customerrelations@teachingcouncil.ie
or both.
We have been asked for a template letter, so here is one example if you wish to complain.

Dear ______________,
I hereby apply for a refund of all fees paid by me to the Teaching Council pre 2014.
It was represented to me as a compulsory fee, so I felt I had no choice but to pay it.
After reading this article http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/news/ireland/article1647552.ece
I now realise that I was misled.
I have also contacted my Union on this matter.
Please send me my refund immediately.
Thank you very much.
_______________________________________

Voice for Teachers feel sure that your Teacher Union would like to be informed about this article, and the possible misleading of 80,000 Union members.
You can email individuals in your union or the legal affairs team, or all.
INTO
info@into.ie<info@into.ie
Find your INTO Rep here:
http://www.into.ie/ROI/AboutINTO/Committees/CentralExecutiveCommittee/

TUI
tui@tui.ie
Find your TUI Rep here:
http://www.tui.ie/about-tui/executive-committee-and-staff.156.html

ASTI
info@asti.ie
Find your ASTI Rep here:
http://www.asti.ie/about-asti/head-office/industrial-relations-officials/

We have been asked for a template letter, so here is one example if you wish to ask your Union for support and / or legal help.

Dear ______________,
I have applied to the Teaching Council for a refund of all fees paid by me to the Teaching Council pre 2014.
It was represented to me as a compulsory fee, so I felt I had no choice but to pay it.
After reading this article http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/news/ireland/article1647552.ece
I now realise that I was misled.
I am asking my Union for full support in this matter, including full legal representation, as necessary.
Please reply to me as soon as possible, as this is a very urgent matter.
Thank you very much.
_______________________________________

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Uncategorized

Why JobBridge is exploitative

Voice for Teachers continues to highlight and campaign against the use of JobBridge in education – for teaching and non-teaching positions.  We do this because we view JobBridge as exploitative.

The INTO has issued a directive to all members not to participate in the JobBridge National Internship Scheme for teaching positions, and has a policy of opposing its use for non-teaching positions as well.  INTO members have taken this position at successive Congresses, reflecting the view that JobBridge is exploitative and that exploitation has no place in our society and it certainly has no place in the micro-society of any educational institution hoping to demonstrate morality and ethics to its students.

Here we would like to explain why we at Voice for Teachers consider JobBridge to be exploitative.  While we refer to the education system and schools as that is our area of expertise, we believe that JobBridge is exploitative across all employments and should be discontinued everywhere.

What is exploitation?

The Oxford Dictionary defines “exploitation” as “The action or fact of treating someone unfairly in order to benefit from their work: e.g. the exploitation of migrant worker.” and “The fact of making use of a situation to gain unfair advantage for oneself: e.g. the Government’s exploitation of the fear of crime.”

Synonyms quoted include “taking advantage, making use, abuse of, misuse, ill treatment, unfair treatment, bleeding dry, sucking dry, squeezing, wringing”.

Very strong words are used to describe exploitation, which is quite right because exploitation is a despicable act.

According to the Oxford Dictionary – Exploitation:

  1. treats someone unfairly in order to benefit from their work
  2. makes use of a situation to gain an unfair advantage for oneself

Does JobBridge treat people unfairly in order to benefit from their work?

The simple answer is Yes.  JobBridge treats people unfairly because the scheme pays very significantly less to the JobBridge intern when compared to other workers doing the same job.  According to the rules of JobBridge, an intern is supposed to shadow a mentor and learn new skills.  However for the vast majority of positions advertised JobBridge uses workers (often very skilled workers) to DO the actual job.

In relation to education, JobBridge Teachers are already fully qualified, they teach a full class by themselves, they are DOING the job of a Teacher.  Similarly, JobBridge secretaries, caretakers, cleaners etc. are DOING the secretarial work, the cleaning work etc… They are not shadowing a mentor, they are not learning new skills in any meaningful sense.

The difference of course is that JobBridge workers are not being paid like other workers.  Instead they are paid €50 per week on top of their social welfare payment.  This means that a young person aged 18 to 24 is paid €150.  A 25 year old gets €194 and someone aged 26 or more gets €236.   For most internships in the education sector, this is for a 35 hour week so it works out at just €4.30 per hour (18-24), €5.50 p.hr. (25) or €6.70 p.hr. (26+).  For many positions outside of the education sector, the number of hours per week is 39 or 40 – meaning that the hourly rate is even less.

Newly and recently appointed teachers and SNAs continue to suffer from being on lower payscales than those employed before 2011.  This discrimination must be fought. But being expected to do the same job for just €4.30 – €6.70 per hour cannot be described as anything other than exploitation.  Similarly, we all know that paltry and inadequate ancillary grants to schools mean that caretakers and secretaries are often badly paid.  But expecting people to do the job for €4.35 – €6.70 per hour??

So clearly, JobBridge workers are treated unequally in everything except the work they are expected to DO. They are treated unfairly in order to allow the school or workplace to benefit from their work.

Do schools/workplaces using JobBridge make use of a situation to gain an unfair advantage for themselves?

Schools/workplaces which decide to use JobBridge make use of the high unemployment situation in Ireland and the desperation of workers to get a job.

In the case of schools, the tiny number of schools which have used JobBridge for teaching positions are taking advantage of the lack of employment opportunities for NQTs and the desperation of NQTs to complete their probation to acquire an extra teacher.  Similarly with the employment of SNAs or ancillary staff via JobBridge – it is because of the high unemployment rates and because of the desperation of people to get off the live register that it is possible to get people to take up JobBridge positions.  Indeed, people who have found themselves unemployed for more than 6 months often find themselves being subjected to interviews by Social Welfare officers which include ‘encouragement’ to take up JobBridge or similar positions.

So yes, schools/workplaces using JobBridge are taking advantage of a situation i.e. high unemployment.  But are they gaining an unfair advantage for themselves?

Clearly, again, the answer is Yes.  If a school takes on an extra teacher, an extra SNA, a caretaker or a secretary that school can clearly offer more (smaller classes, more release time for teaching principal, more support for SEN pupils, better maintenance services, more secretarial support….) than neighbouring schools.  This in turn puts pressure on neighbouring schools to also participate in JobBridge.  Parents and Board of Management members who see a nearby school acquiring extra resources will wonder why their school too isn’t taking advantage of the scheme.

Not alone therefore are the school gaining an unfair advantage for themselves but they are creating a situation where other schools will be put under pressure to do likewise.

Furthermore, as recognised by the motion passed by the INTO at Congress 2015 there is a grave danger that the use of JobBridge to fill non-teaching positions in schools “..opens the possibility of future cuts to SNA provision and to ancillary and other grants if JobBridge is seen as a way to provide services and personnel to schools”.

The worry is that officials in the Department and/or politicians look at the schools delivering services via JobBridge and decide that all schools should deliver these services in this way.  Another example of those with a cuts agenda taking advantage of an opportunity they are presented with…?

Schools/employers who use JobBridge make use of a situation to gain an unfair advantage for themselves and they put pressure on others to do the same.

 

Ethos

Schools that use JobBridge should be recognised for what they are – exploitative schools. Whether those schools purport to have a religious or a secular ethos, all of them have mission statements which place equality and justice at the core of what they stand for.  Exploiting workers via JobBridge runs counter to the values espoused in those mission statements and should be seen as contrary to the school’s ethos.

Think of it this way – An example of exploitation in the Oxford Dictionary is “the exploitation of a migrant worker”.  Imagine the scandal if schools were openly paying migrant workers less than other workers!

Any school using JobBridge is exploiting vulnerable workers.

Voice for Teachers will continue to fight against exploitation through JobBridge and we call on all of our members to fight with us.

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Uncategorized

Stop JobBridge Exploiting Teachers: How is your INTO District Doing?

Despite a Directive to all INTO members not to participate in JobBridge, a handful of schools every year continue to exploit fully qualified Teachers by advertising for JobBridge Teachers.

How is your District doing this year?

The following is based on advertisements that we have seen.

If you know of any other school that has used JobBridge in the past or is intending to use it in the coming year, please contact us with the details. (How to contact us below).

District 1

District 1 is in Northern Ireland. Well done to the INTO members in District 1 who have successfully kept unpaid internships for fully qualified Teachers out of their schools.

District 2

District 2 is in Northern Ireland as well. Well done to the INTO members in District 2 who have successfully kept unpaid internships for fully qualified Teachers out of their schools.

District 3

Well done to the INTO members in District 3 who have successfully kept JobBridge for Teachers out of their schools so far for the coming school year.

District 4

One school has flouted INTO Rules. An NPT (Non-Permanent Teacher) is currently at risk of exploitation in District 4.

  1. Gaelscoil na Cruaiche, Westport, Co Mayo

District 5

One school has flouted INTO Rules. Another NPT is currently at risk of exploitation in District 5.

  1. Edenmore N.S., Emyvale, Co. Monaghan. H18 WY26

District 6

Two schools have flouted INTO Rules. Two more NPTs are currently at risk of exploitation in District 6.

  1. Kilcoona NS; Headford, Co. Galway.
  2. Steiner Galway National School, Brooklawn House, Galway West Business Park, Western Distributor Road, Knocknacara, Galway.

District 7

Well done to the INTO members in District 7 who have successfully kept JobBridge for Teachers out of their schools so far for the coming school year.

District 8

Well done to the INTO members in District 8 who have successfully kept JobBridge for Teachers out of their schools so far for the coming school year.

District 9

Well done to the INTO members in District 9 who have successfully kept JobBridge for Teachers out of their schools so far for the coming school year.

District 10

Well done to the INTO members in District 10 who have successfully kept JobBridge for Teachers out of their schools so far for the coming school year.

District 11

Well done to the INTO members in District 11 who have successfully kept JobBridge for Teachers out of their schools so far for the coming school year.

District 12

One school has flouted INTO Rules. Another NPT is currently at risk of exploitation in District 12.

  1. Sherkin Island National School, Sherkin Island, Baltimore, Co.Cork

District 13

Three schools have flouted INTO Rules. A further four NPTs are currently at risk of exploitation in District 13.

  1. Scoil Naomh Pádraig, Knocknasna, Abbeyfeale, Co. Limerick.
  2. Castleisland Boys National School, College Road, Castleisland, Co. Kerry.
  3. Coolick NS, Kilcummin, Killarney, Co. Kerry (2 JobBridge Teachers wanted).

The last one on this list (Coolick NS) has advertised for 3 JobBridge SNAs; 1 JobBridge SNA later and 2 JobBridge Teachers.

District 14

Well done to the INTO members in District 14 who have successfully kept JobBridge for Teachers out of their schools so far for the coming school year.

District 15

Well done to the INTO members in District 15 who have successfully kept JobBridge for Teachers out of their schools so far for the coming school year.

District 16

Well done to the INTO members in District 16 who have successfully kept JobBridge for Teachers out of their schools so far for the coming school year.

There seems to be a particular problem in District 13 (Kerry and Limerick). There appears to be a cluster of schools in District 13 who do not care about INTO Rules or INTO colleagues.

We call on the INTO General Secretary Sheila Nunan; all of the paid INTO officials; the CEC Representatives for all INTO Districts, (particularly Districts 4, 5, 6, 12 and 13); together with the District Officers, Branch Officers, Staff Representatives and all INTO members in those Districts, to do their duty as INTO Union members and ensure that INTO Directives are fully implemented in all Districts.

Well done to INTO Districts 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 14, 15 and 16.

We salute your members for keeping JobBridge out of your schools and ensuring that no NPT will be exploited by JobBridge in your Districts.

Every INTO member has a duty to report breaches of INTO Directives. This is what you need to do:

How to Report JobBridge:

It’s all covered under Rule 105 of the INTO Rule Book https://www.into.ie/ROI/MembersArea/INTORulesandConstitution/INTO_RulesConstitution.pdf.

This Rule covers pages and pages but don’t be put off by that. Basically there are four stages, one informal and three formal stages.

1. You report the breach to the District Secretary (stating that you are doing so under Rule 105 Stage 1 ). All of the District Secretaries have an INTO email address:

intodistrict1@into.ie       intodistrict2@into.ie      intodistrict3@into.ie       intodistrict4@into.ie        

intodistrict5@into.ie       intodistrict6@into.ie       intodistrict7@into.ie       intodistrict8@into.ie

intodistrict9@into.ie       intodistrict10@into.ie     intodistrict11@into.ie     intodistrict12@into.ie

intodistrict13@into.ie     intodistrict14@into.ie     intodistrict15@into.ie     intodistrict16@into.ie

Then it is the District’s responsibility to try to solve the alleged breach of the JobBridge Directive informally within 25 school days.
There might be the odd email to and fro (we’ll gladly help if anyone needs support).

2. If it can’t be resolved (if the JobBridge position is not withdrawn) it then goes to Stage 2 which is a bit more formal and involves a formal written complaint and attending a hearing of the Arbitration Board (lasts about an hour). Again loads of support/advice available here.

3. The Arbitration Board makes a finding which is open to appeal by either party under Stage 3. This only involves presenting written documents.

4. After that you have no input into the procedure. It transfers totally into the hands of the CEC at Stage 4.

We would gratefully welcome other voices joining us in reporting the exploitation that is JobBridge, and will not be found wanting in support or advice.

How to Contact Voice for Teachers:

You can PM our Face book page at https://www.facebook.com/VoiceForTeachers

You can contact us via e-mail at voiceforteachers@yahoo.ie

You can follow us on Twitter at  @VoiceforTeacher

You can read our Blog at https://voiceforteachersblog.wordpress.com/

INTO members and Non- INTO members can also complain about this exploitation of fully qualified Teachers and this misuse of the JobBridge internship scheme to:

The schools involved (see our Face book page for screenshots of the ads)

https://www.facebook.com/VoiceForTeachers

JobBridge

https://www.welfare.ie/en/Pages/How-to-Make-a-Comment-or-Complaint-to-the-Department.aspx

The National Parents Council (Primary)

http://www.npc.ie/

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Uncategorized

Fee-paying private school seeks to exploit teachers via JobBridge

Update: We are very happy to report that the Principal contacted VFTs and has removed the two ads for JobBridge Teachers in this school.

Thank you to him and to everyone who e-mailed him.

A private school which charges fees of over €10,000 per year for day pupils has advertised for two teachers via JobBridge.

Headfort School, based in Kells Co. Meath, charges day pupils over 10 years old fees of €3,365 per term – with additional charges for music, tennis, swimming, riding and other activities.  But on Wednesday last, 29th July, the school advertised for two JobBridge positions – ‘European Languages / Sports Teacher (primary school)’ and ‘Irish Language / Sports Teacher (primary school)’.

The ads on the JobBridge website require that applicants have “…a B. Ed, or a Graduate/Higher Diploma in Education (Primary) or similar qualification from overseas” and that they “…must be dedicated to children coming first, be able to inspire and motivate, and be interested in the education of children…. punctual, flexible, diligent and hardworking.”

Clearly however, having an interest in social justice or believing in the concept of a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work would rule somebody out of contention.  Believing that exploitation in the workplace is wrong would appear to run contrary to the ethos this school aspires to.

In all circumstances, JobBridge is exploitation but in this instance of a school which charges huge fees to the parents of its pupils but now wants to provide education via a teacher who will be paid €50 per week the level of exploitation is just staggering.

Unfortunately, because the principal is unlikely to be a member of the INTO, there is probably no way in which the INTO membership can try to enforce the directive against participation on JobBridge in this case.  But perhaps public pressure would make a difference – why not send an email to the principal, Dermot Dix – headmaster@headfort.com, and let him know how you feel about his exploitation of vulnerable young teachers?

Copies of the 2 ads are attached for your information.

Kells-jobbridge-ie 2ndTeacherHeadfortSchool

Kells-jobbridge-ie TeacherHeadfortSchool

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Education

Updated Breis Eolais and Clarification Email VFT sent to All Schools on 17/6/15

#VoiceforTeachersClarifySmallError #Apology #INTOstillQuotingIncorrect€3333WithoutApology

Clarification Email VFT sent to All Schools on 17/6/15.
A chara,

We note that Sheila Nunan has questioned the figures stated in our Breis Eolais, with regard to the monetary restoration within the proposed Lansdowne Road Agreement.

We have enquired into this and it appears that we are indeed in error with regard to the first two tranches regarding the small restoration of the pension component of FEMPI.

In the overall scheme of things, our miscalculation in monetary value remains relatively insignificant – not much more than the price of a cup of coffee per week. But we strive to be as accurate as possible so please accept our apology along with our updated figures.

We mistakenly treated the pension figures in the same manner as the third component of the €1,000 pay due in September 2017. (This third figure still stands as accurate).

We did not realise that the net effect of pension restoration is calculated in a different manner to that of pay scale.

Again we have no tax expert sitting with us so to the best of our knowledge and ability the first part of the Breis Eolais should read:

What does the deal give?

Teachers who pay tax at the 20% rate are supposed to get a tiny pay restoration of
@€9.20 a week after tax from Jan ’16
@€6.15 per week from Sept. ‘16
@€10.29 per week from Sept. ‘17

Those who pay tax at the higher rate are supposed to get a smaller restoration of
@€6.90 per week from Jan. ’16
@€4.60 per week from Sept. ‘16
@€6.44 per week from Sept. ‘17

The deal says we will have no further pay restoration until at least Sept. ‘18

Our original figures were out by @€293.28 for those on the 20% tax rate and by @€256.88 for those at the 40% rate. As we said, about the price of a cup or two of coffee per week.

We apologise for this, an honest mistake, wish to correct what was stated and would be grateful if you could bring our corrections and humble apologies to the attention of your staff.

We do however also note that the figure of €3,333 is emblazoned by all documentation issuing from INTO. That figure is including increases which are already due under HRA come what may and the HRA element has absolutely nothing to do with the proposals we are being asked to vote upon.

This is an overstatement of €1,592, according to the figures given by INTO itself, and is an error which has been brought to the attention of the CEC by members at the information meetings countrywide.

Voice for Teachers is willing to admit that we were in error. Is the INTO willing to do the same?

voiceforteachers@yahoo.ie

 

breis eolais LRA revised

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