THE Dundalk IT branch of the Teachers Union of Ireland (TUI) have attacked the controversial property tax on the final day of their congress in Galway this week.
Kenneth Sloane of Dundalk IT described the tax as a part of an austerity policy that failed the country.
Mr Sloane said teachers had “paid considerable amounts of stamp duty” on homes including many bought at the peak of the construction boom.
He also described the property tax as “another attack” on trade union members such as the TUI.
Speaking to the Dundalk Democrat, Mr Sloane, whose family own a newsagents on the Avenue Road, contextualised his comments to the paper, saying that as it stands, it is virtually impossible for newly qualifed teachers to get full time work.
“It’s casualising the teaching profession,” Kevin told the paper: “You have a situation where newly qualified teachers are finding it impossible to obtain, secure, full time work and they are left scrabbling around for scraps of work.
“At the moment is difficult for many to plan more then 12 weeks ahead at one time, and you have teachers looking for work in secondary jobs to make ends meet.
“Many have wages in the range of €15,000 per annum and are looking at other part time work to make up the difference.”
Kevin said the main issue for the TUI regarding the property tax not that property shouldn’t be taxed, but that it should be structured to take into account income and ability to pay, so that those with smaller incomes aren’t expected to pay the same as those on higher incomes.
“We want to the government to restore the pay conditions for newly qualified teachers.
“What the government are doing is forcing young teachers to look to countries like the UK, Australia and Canada, where their qualifications are highly regarded.
“We are seeing a situation, including here in Dundalk were, lecturers with PhD qualifications, who have trained for 6 – 7 years are fighting for part-time hours, with very little prospect of getting full time work, as the government prefers to load work onto full-time staff who are already overburdened.
“As a result they are forced to emmigrate and we are losing these people’s talents to other countries, people who the state has significantly invested in.”
The TUI is calling for a progressive tax increase as an alternative to the Local Property Tax which they claim is “not progressive” and thereby hits the unemployed and low paid workers severely.