Protesters outside Newtown School in Waterford on Friday morning
Protests at 250 schools across the country, including in Waterford, are taking place this morning.
Fórsa Trade Union said the dispute is over the education department’s refusal to address a two-tier pay system that leaves most secretaries earning just €12,500 a year, with irregular, short-term contracts that force them to sign on during the summer holidays and other school breaks.
Fórsa’s head of education Andy Pike said the department didn’t offer any credible proposals to end the pay injustice facing most of the country’s school secretaries. “The two-tier low-pay regime for school secretaries has been in force for more than four decades. In that time we’ve seen little if any serious engagement from the Department of Education," he said.
School secretaries are engaging in a brief one hour work stoppage at the start of the school day. Thereafter they will commence a significant work to rule.
School secretaries backed industrial action by a margin of 94% to 6% in a recent national ballot. The turnout was 68%. Fórsa went to ballot after talks broke down earlier in the summer.
Cllr Eddie Mulligan showed his support to the protesters at Newtown School this morning.
I believe in Equality.— Eddie Mulligan (@MulliganEddie) September 20, 2019
Up early this morning to be at @newtownschoolw to stand with those demanding respect and fair conditions for all school secretaries from the Department of Education & Skills.
The backbone of schools and the education system cannot be ignored. pic.twitter.com/I1g085paFp