State to ‘regularise’ pay and conditions of school secretaries and caretakers

Union Fórsa says it has secured deal with Departments of Education and Public Expenditure at Workplace Relations Commission

Some school secretaries are  directly employed by   the Department of Education, while  most have their pay and conditions determined by school management boards, which receive grants from the State. Photograph: Getty Images

Some school secretaries are directly employed by the Department of Education, while most have their pay and conditions determined by school management boards, which receive grants from the State. Photograph: Getty Images

 

The Government has agreed to “regularise” the pay, conditions and pensions of school secretaries and caretakers which are currently funded from State grants, the trade union Fórsa has said.

The union said in a tweet on Tuesday that it had secured agreement on this issue with the Department of Education and the Department of Public Expenditure at talks at the Workplace Relations Commission.

The union said that detailed implementation talks were to conclude by February. It said full details would be released on Wednesday morning.

Last month the union had warned that school secretaries would stage several days of strike action to be followed by an indefinite stoppage. The move was averted to allow the union and the Government to hold talks at the Workplace Relations Commission this week.

School secretaries are seeking an end to the existing two-tier system under which some are directly employed by and paid by the Department of Education and have public service employment status, while the majority have their pay and conditions determined by school management boards which receive grants from the State.

The union said under the two-tier system most school secretaries were “left earning just €12,500 a year, with irregular, short-term contracts that forced them to sign on during the summer holidays and other school breaks”.

Separately, the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (Asti) will on Wednesday begin counting a ballot of members on whether to take industrial action up to and including strike action over lower pay in place for more recent entrants to the profession and in relation to resources and practices in schools after they reopened following the closure due to the pandemic.