South Dublin private school secretary seeks reimbursement of money after wage cut

A 5 per cent cut imposed by Mount Anville on direction of Department of Education interfered with private contract, EAT told

 Mount Anville secondary school

Mount Anville secondary school


A secretary at a private school in south Dublin has taken a case to the Employment Appeals Tribunal after her pay was cut in line with a direction from the Department of Education.

Damhnait Nic Bhradaigh, who has worked at Mount Anville secondary school for 22 years, has taken the case under the Payment of Wages Act 1991.

She told the tribunal yesterday that a cut in her wages imposed by the school following a circular sent by the Department of Education amounted to interference in a private contract between herself and her employer and was illegal.

The Financial Measures in the Public Interest Act 2009 introduced wage cuts for public servants. On foot of it, the Department of Education sent a circular to private schools. It said it had taken legal advice and for the purposes of the Act “all staff working in a recognised school” were public servants “solely for the purposes of the Act”.

Their pay was to be cut by 5 per cent on the first €30,000, rising to 10 per cent on earnings above €70,000.

Ms Nic Bhradaigh’s salary was cut from April 2011. She told the tribunal the Act was introduced to cut public borrowing, but the cut in her salary was of no benefit to the State as she was paid directly by the school.

She also said the Act sought to make her a public servant without giving her the benefits and protections of a public servant, including pension benefits.

Solicitor Liam Riordan, for the school, told the tribunal the school had “enormous sympathy” for Ms Nic Bhradaigh but the imposed wage cut was outside its power. It was a “recognised school” under the Education Acts and as such was obliged to carry out the directions of the Department of Education, he said.

Chairwoman Fiona Crawford said the tribunal would deliver a decision as soon as possible.