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Teachers stand strong on pay demands
A teacher and pupils stand outside a primary school in Fermanagh. Photo: National Library of Ireland, L_ROY_09991

Teachers stand strong on pay demands

Dublin, 1 January 1918 - Irish teachers insist that the payment of a war bonus should be unconditional and unlinked to acceptance of the recent recommendations of the Commissioners of National Education.

Those recommendations, set out in a White Paper issued in mid-December, allowed for the allocation of new grants to primary school teachers for 1917-1918. The new scales, popularly known as the ‘Duke Scheme’ after the Chief Secretary, provided increases annually of between £4 to £10.

The swift rejection of these proposals by Irish teachers led to a special meeting of the National Education Commissioners which decided to further recommend to the government that an immediate war bonus be granted to the national teachers on the lines of that given to civil servants.

Report of Assistant Commissioners of the Intermediate Education Board for Ireland, prepared in response to parliamentary question on teachers’ salaries, 5 Dec 1917. Click image to enlarge. (Image: National Archives of Ireland, CSORP 1917 32871)

Urging the teachers’ acceptance, Dr Starkie, the Resident Commissioner for National Education in Ireland, said that there was no reason for the teachers and the Commissioners not to make common cause in appealing to the government for fair treatment.

Dr Starkie also suggested that acceptance of the new pay proposals would not preclude teachers from agitating for improvements to the Duke Scheme.

A meeting of the Central Executive of the INTO will be held today in Dublin, but no easing in the union’s position is expected. Speaking to reporters yesterday, the Secretary of the INTO, Mr O’Connell remarked: ‘Anyone who thinks that the war bonus, even if it materialises, will buy off our opposition to the White Paper proposals will, I believe, be very much mistaken.’

The dispute over the Duke Scheme has shed light not only on the pay and conditions of Irish teachers, but on wider issues of funding for the sector.

[Editor's note: This is an article from Century Ireland, a fortnightly online newspaper, written from the perspective of a journalist 100 years ago, based on news reports of the time.]

RTÉ

Century Ireland

The Century Ireland project is an online historical newspaper that tells the story of the events of Irish life a century ago.