“School secretaries’ pay and conditions are a disgrace”

Secretaries protest in Donegal. Photo: Eoin McGarvey

Gino Kenny TD supports striking school secretaries in Dublin Mid-West and calls on the Government “to do the right thing”

Deputy Gino Kenny has expressed his full support for the industrial action that school secretaries have been forced to take recently as a result of years of paltry pay and poor conditions.

The People Before Profit TD said that school secretaries have struggled to manage on an average income of just over €12,000 per annum and do not get sick pay or a pension.

Deputy Kenny said: “School secretaries play a vital role in schools. They are at the heart of the school community and fulfil many other unofficial roles including regularly providing a listening ear and all-round help to the pupils and parents who often see them as the first point of contact.”

Since 1978, only approximately 10 per cent of secretaries are employed by the Department of Education receiving sick pay, pension and other benefits. The vast majority of school secretaries are employed by school management boards with poor pay and irregular short-term contracts that force them to sign on for social welfare during school holidays.

“School secretaries’ pay and conditions are a disgrace and I fully support all the secretaries who were left with no option but to strike in my own constituency of Dublin Mid-West and across the country.

“I am calling on the Government to do the right thing by sitting down with the secretaries’ trade union, Forsa, as a matter of urgency and committing to finding a solution to this issue. These important staff members should be directly employed by the Department of Education as public servants with the pay and conditions to which they are entitled,” added Deputy Kenny.