The School Strike for Climate Action won’t be the only educational down-tools this coming Friday in Greystones.
Public services union Fórsa have organised a strike by school secretaries, demanding fair treatment when it comes to pay and pensions.
And local woman Felicity O’Dowd has been in touch, as she prepares to take a stand outside St Kevin’s this Friday, September 20th, from 8.50am to 9.50am.
And here’s why…
I would to just let you know from Friday 20th Sept school secretaries who are members of Forsa will be starting industrial action. The action will commence with a protest stoppage of one hour outside their school followed by a work to rule which will escalate as the protest progresses.
I will be talking part in this dispute but I want to let you know the reasons why this has to take place. I would also like to stress that our dispute is with the Dept of Education who have created this two-tier system of employment.
I am working 22 years and I am entitled to no sick pay, no pension. I have no recognised pay scale and every year have had to argue my case to get decent pay. In the beginning this was very tough to do; now I do it and usually fall out with people over it. I am humiliated every year asking for what should be a right.
We are paid by the BOM and therefore my pay is decided by people from the school community, teachers rep and members of the Board. Would you be happy with your neighbours or colleagues deciding your pay every year? As a result of constant pressure from me to the Board I have no argument with my pay but I should have a recognised pay scale and not face this pressure every year. Any secretary employed by the department is paid by a recognised pay scale and there are schools where the Department secretary and the grant paid secretary work side by side doing the same job but with widely different pay and conditions. As I said, now I have no issue with my pay but I know several school secretaries whose pay varies to a wide degree.
I have never had sick pay, a right other members of the school community are entitled to. For me, this meant that during my working life, I underwent 26 sessions of radiotherapy without missing a day of work. This is the reality of no sick pay. I also have no pension rights. We have a two-tier system where the Dept of Education still employs secretaries who have full rights to sick pay, pensions and rates of pay. When they passed over a grant to the BOM to ’employ’ secretaries, we lost all our rights.
I also sign on for five weeks over the summer. Anyone who has done this will know that the process is totally humiliating and time-consumin, but it has to be done to keep our stamps up, and to give us money over the summer, and now we also pay tax on what is called Job Seekers! I am the only member of staff in my school who has to sign on.
I will be as the union puts it maintaining a visual presence outside the school (not a picket) from 8:50 to 9:50 on Friday 20th September. I am hoping to be joined by some parents and also some other members of the community.
You can find out more about the school secretaries’ demands here, and sign their petition right about here.
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