February 24, 2022
Government must respect school secretaries and caretakers as WRC talks resume – Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Education Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD has called on Minister for Education Norma Foley and Minister for Public Expenditure Michael McGrath to finally give school secretaries and caretakers the respect they are entitled to.

The Cork South Central TD added that the government needed to drop their position that school secretaries and caretakers should sign on during the summer.

Teachta Ó Laoghaire said:

“School secretaries and caretakers are invaluable members of our schools and our communities, often working above and beyond their job requirements. 

“They work on the front line, and are the first port of call for parents and students. Without them, our schools would simply not function.

“Despite this, they have faced unequal pay, and poor terms and conditions with many working for barely above minimum wage. Secretaries have been fighting for respect and equality for decades now, and this has gone on far too long.

“The government continues to drag their feet.

“As far back as October 2020, the Tánaiste committed that his government would address this, and finally secure pay equality and pension entitlements for secretaries and caretakers. 

“But the current government position, from both Minister Foley and Minister McGrath, is that school secretaries should sign on during the summer. That is a fact.

“They must drop that position. It is unfair, it is disrespectful, it is impractical. It puts them in an incredibly precarious position over the school holidays.

“School secretaries are not asking for anything unreasonable, simply respect and decent pay and equal treatment. 

“I would urge the ministers not to keep these low paid workers in limbo any longer, and instruct their officials to table a fair offer at today’s WRC hearings.”

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