Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan, Niamh Smyth, says that engagement between school secretaries and the Department of Education is urgently needed. Deputy Smyth has made the call as school secretaries announced that they would embark on a campaign of industrial action beginning on September 20th.
Deputy Smyth commented,“This situation has been allowed to develop because the Department have stood by despite repeated calls from Fianna Fáil to engage with and support school secretaries in Cavan-Monaghan and nationwide.
“90% of school secretaries are paid for out of school funding and do not have the same safeguards in place as the 10% employed directly by the Department. I personally know of school secretaries my office and I have assisted. This week alone I have helped four school secretaries who are affected by these issues.
“School secretaries are vital to the successful running of a school. They should be treated with the respect they deserve.
“The Department of Education is dragging its feet when it comes to a resolution to this issue. In fact, the Workplace Relations Commission has mandated that talks would take place this year between Government and the Unions.
“The Minster must ensure that these negotiations take place immediately, ahead of any planned industrial action, and that the Department engages meaningfully with a view to addressing the genuine concerns of school secretaries.
“The Minister has to use his role to ensure school secretaries and recognised and supported for the very important work they do,” concluded Deputy Smyth.