Independent TD Sean Canney has called on the Government to immediately intercede and ensure that the Department of Education offer a realistic solutions to meet government commitment to end pay inequalities once and for all for schools secretaries and caretakers.
Fórsa trade union last Friday rejected what it described as a ‘derisory’ offer from the Department of Education as part of a process designed to regularise the terms and conditions of school secretaries and caretakers.
The long-running dispute over regularising the pay, conditions and pensions of school secretaries and caretakers, which leaves most school secretaries earning just €12,500 a year, with irregular short-term contracts that force them to sign on during the summer holidays and other school breaks.
The staff affected are employed by individual school boards of management and paid out of the ancillary grant provided to schools.
“The department’s offer fails, to meet the commitments made by the Tánaiste in the Dáil last year when I questioned him on the issue of ending this four-decade pay inequality once and for all”.
Dep Canney said that Department officials have failed to produce a solution to deliver on the commitment, and now schools are facing a new school term with this matter unresolved.
He said that school secretaries and caretakers had a reasonable expectation of a solution to be in place by the time schools reopen.
“The Department of Education’s offer, at the top of the new five-point scale (ranging from 25 to 28k p.a ) is approximately €12,000 below the maximum salary for secretaries carrying out the same level of work in ETB schools.
“This situation is discriminatory. There are school secretaries working side by side, doing the same work and getting vastly different rate of pay and conditions. “The department stated that no offer could be put forward on conditions of service or pensions and suggested that existing or future statutory provisions would apply.
“This would leave school secretaries in exactly the same position regarding sick leave and annual leave. The Government made an explicit commitment to me to resolve this issue and I am calling on the Government to intercede and honour their commitment,” he concluded.