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School Secretaries Get Some Job Recognition


Latest press release from Jennifer Whitmore TD, issued on Wednesday, October 28th 2020…

Social Democrats TD for Wicklow has this week welcomed the news that school secretaries in Wicklow and across the country will see their job regularised under a preliminary agreement with the Workplace Relations Commission yesterday (Tuesday 27th October 2020).

According to Forsa, around 1,000 school secretaries and caretakers on low pay with no job security are to have their conditions of employment “regularised” under a preliminary agreement reached at the Workplace Relations Commission.

Speaking on the issue, Deputy Whitmore says, “Any parent of school-going children will know that school secretaries are the heart of any school community. They are the first people our children see in the morning, and they are people that help ensure the smooth running of any school. What many people won’t be aware of though, is that most school secretaries are employed by their local board of management, often on poorly paid and irregular short-term contracts. In fact, most school secretaries are not entitled to basic things like sick pay or pensions, and have to sign on during the school holidays.

“I have met a number of school secretaries across Wicklow who relayed to me the difficulties with living on low pay and without job security. The situation has been very unfair to such an important and skilled workforce who work hard for school communities, particularly during the pandemic.

“I want to commend Fórsa Union which has done huge work in trying to get this injustice rectified with the Workplace Relations Commission. I’m delighted in their progress towards getting the State to address low pay and job security for school secretaries and caretakers.
I have supported this call for many years now and have met and engaged with many Wicklow secretaries over the course of their campaign.

“I understand there remain many difficult issues still to resolve but welcome the continuation of talks on regularising pay conditions and pensions of secretaries and caretakers.

“It is time that the Department of Education value the important work that these secretaries do and ensure they are treated fairly and directly employed by the Department” concludes Whitmore.

You can chart St Kevin’s school secretary Felicity O’Dowd’s journey for recognition here, here and here.