Department of Education offer “fails to meet government commitment to end pay inequalities once and for all”
Fórsa trade union has 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 union’s head of Education Andy Pike said Friday’s meeting convened by the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) was a ‘make or break’ meeting in 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.
School secretaries have been let down by government again.
The staff affected are employed by individual school boards of management, and paid out of the ancillary grant provided to schools.
Mr Pike commented: “The department’s offer fails, quite spectacularly, to meet the commitments made by the Tánaiste in the Dáil last year to end this four-decade pay inequality once and for all. School secretaries have been let down by government again.
“Department officials have failed to produce a solution to deliver on the commitment, and now we are facing a new school term with this matter unresolved. School secretaries and caretakers had a reasonable expectation of a solution to be in place by now. In the absence of a deal we could ballot our members on, recourse to industrial action is now an active option for us,” he said.
In the absence of a deal we could ballot our members on, recourse to industrial action is now an active option for us
Mr Pike said 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.
He said 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. To summarise, this just isn’t credible. The Government made an explicit commitment to resolve this issue. Friday’s offer falls far short of what it should be,” he said.