School secretaries warn of further industrial action if pay talks fail

School secretaries are due at the talks table today in their dispute about what they say is a two-tier pay system.

School secretaries warn of further industrial action if pay talks fail

School secretaries are due at the talks table today in their dispute about what they say is a two-tier pay system.

They currently earn around €12,500 a year without holiday pay and pensions.

They say they are carrying out the same duties as secretaries employed by education and training boards who have full public service conditions.

There are around 3,000 school secretaries in Ireland and around two-thirds are affected.

Head of education with Forsa Andy Pike says the Minister for Finance needs to engage with the secretaries.

"It is the Department of Finance and Public Expenditure that are responsible for public sector pay policy and that is where we keep on hitting a brick wall time and time again," said Mr Pike.

"So I would say to Minister Donohoe to stop hiding in the background and come out front and centre and either tell us if you're going to bring school secretaries in to new pay arrangements, if you're going to treat them fairly or are you going to continue to refuse to discuss a solution."

Mr Pike said that if there is not more co-operation then more industrial action is inevitable.

"We hope that the talks will explore every avenue available so it is likely that they will take more than a day.

"If these talks are serious then they may well last until after the election.

"I think that the employer's side needs to be clear that if there is a further breakdown and a failure to resolve this dispute then the industrial action will escalate."

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