Fórsa trade union has written to the Department of Education and Skills seeking to open discussions on a new agreement on school secretaries’ and caretakers’ pay.
A 2015 arbitration finding awarded four separate annual pay rises of 2.5% for school secretaries and caretakers. The final pay adjustment was due in January 2019, and the agreement concludes this year.
In a letter to the department sent last Friday (1st February), Fórsa’s head of education Andy Pike said unions and the department had previously established a joint forum to consider pay arrangements for grant funded secretaries and caretakers.
Andy suggested that the forum be reconvened for the purpose of discussing a new pay agreement to commence in 2020.
Most school secretaries and caretakers are paid through their school’s ancillary grant, which means their pay is determined by individual school boards of management.
This arrangement has led, in the most extreme cases the union has encountered, to school secretaries earning as little as €12,700 a year, with no entitlement to benefits such as sick pay or pension rights.
The union is currently campaigning to change the existing pay model.
Andy advised the department of the union’s aim to have public service pay and conditions applied to school secretaries and caretakers. He added, “This is consistent with our original claim which was not resolved by the 2015 arbitration finding.”
Fórsa also addressed the issue in its December 2018 submission on the Department of Education and Skills strategy statement for 2019-2021.
Andy said: “Fórsa has suggested that the new strategy statement should commit the Government to regularising the employment status of school secretaries by establishing the ETB (Education and Training Board) school secretary salary scale as the common salary scale for all school secretaries, with access to comparable pension provision.”
ETB school secretaries are paid directly by the department.
For news and media coverage of the campaign so far visit the #SupportOurSecretaries page on the Fórsa website.