Most political parties back school secretaries
by Niall Shanahan

Most of the political parties contesting the general election have backed an end to the current two-tier pay system for school secretaries.

During the one-day strike by school secretaries in January, Fórsa’s head of education Andy Pike noted that expressions of support had come from all political parties, apart from Fine Gael, as well as lots of support from non-party public representatives.

Fórsa sought the views of the main political parties contesting the general election on a wide range of issues and published the responses today.


On resolving the ongoing dispute over the two-tier pay system affecting two-thirds of the estimated 3,000 school secretaries nationwide, the expressions of support vary.

Fianna Fáil, Labour, the Green Party and Social Democrats have all expressed support for a fairer system for employing school secretaries. Of the four parties, all but the Green party include a commitment to do so in their manifestos, while Sinn Féin has expressed partial support for the issue.

The union’s assessments are based on party manifestos and other official election pledges. Fórsa also sent a draft to each party to give them the opportunity to clarify their positions if they wanted to.

The union is currently awaiting confirmation of a date to resume talks at the WRC.

SNA support inconclusive

Fórsa also sought the views of the parties on the proposal to change the method of allocation which links special needs assistants (SNAs) and children receiving SNA support. Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil partially support maintaining the link while there was no clear support on the issue from any of the other parties.

On increasing funding for higher education, only Fianna Fáil and Solidarity/People Before Profit have included commitments to do so in their manifestos, while the other parties expressed partial support.

On funding for the School Completion Programme (SCP), only Sinn Féin and Labour express partial support, while none of the other parties expressed any clear support.

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