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Local school secretaries join their colleagues on industrial action today

Local school secretaries join their colleagues on industrial action today

Local schools will be among up to 1,000 around the country facing administrative disruption from today as school secretaries begin a campaign of industrial action over pay and conditions.

The staff represented by Fórsa say they have been victims of an “antiquated and discriminatory” two-tier pay system since 1978.

The Department of Education described the industrial action as premature and unwarranted.

Secretaries employed by individual school management boards can earn as little as €12,500 a year, only have non-permanent contracts, and must sign on when schools are closed.

In contrast, other secretaries directly employed by the Department of Education enjoy public servant status, along with higher pay rates, permanent contracts and pension entitlements.

Fórsa said it represents around a third of the 3,500 school secretaries, who will this morning hold protests for around an hour at 250 schools.

However, they will also cease engagement with certain public service administrative systems, arguing that if they are not paid as public servants, they will not do public service work.

Fórsa said this will affect administration but not pupils.

The Department of Education said it is currently carrying out a survey to establish the scale of the problem, and will consider the claim once costings have been established.

However, the union warned that if the dispute is not resolved, it will escalate.