School secretaries, represented by Fórsa trade union, have outlined their experience of poor pay and uncertain short-term contracts to a hearing of the Oireachtas Education Committee.
The committee was meeting to discuss the status of non-teaching staff in schools, and sought written submissions from all stakeholders.
In its submission to the committee, Fórsa, a new trade union formed in January last year, said most school secretaries - who are almost exclusively women - are very poorly paid, with uncertain short-term contracts that force many of them to sign on the dole during the summer holidays.
The head of Fórsa’s Education division, Andy Pike, said:
The majority of school secretaries and caretakers are paid from ancillary grants and are not deemed to be public servants.
Mr Pike added: “The majority of school secretaries, around 90%, work alongside colleagues with full public service status, but are locked out of the system without holiday pay, sick pay, pensions or access to public service salary scales."