School secretaries to stage a one-day strike over pay row

School secretaries to stage a one-day strike over pay row

School secretaries are to stage a one-day strike on September 15 over pay. File Picture: 

School secretaries are to stage a one-day strike on Wednesday, September 15 as part of an ongoing dispute over their pay and conditions.

On that day, pickets will be placed at the Department of Finance and Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.

Fórsa, the union representing school secretaries, has accused both departments of blocking the implementation of a Government commitment to standardise their pay and conditions.

According to Fórsa, most school secretaries earn just €12,500 a year, with irregular short-term contracts that force them to sign on during the summer holidays and other school breaks.

Last year, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar gave a commitment in the Dáil to end the system of pay inequality.

The dispute was then referred to the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) where, last July, the Department of Education offered an increase of 50 cent an hour.

Andy Pike, head of education with Fórsa, said the failure to make the expected proposals to fully standardise pay and conditions for school secretaries and caretakers had left them bitterly disappointed.

"They had a reasonable expectation that a solution would be in place by now. They have campaigned and made their case, which has won broad public and political support.” “School secretaries have been badly let down, and feel that industrial action is now the only option open to them," he said.

The staff affected are employed by individual school boards of management and are paid out of the ancillary grant provided to each school, according to Fórsa.

As a result, they earn far less than the minority of school secretaries and caretakers who work in ETB schools and are employed directly on Department of Education pay scales.

Fórsa is currently balloting school caretakers, who will join the strike on September 15 if the ballot result backs strike action.

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