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School secretaries up pressure on Department of Education

School secretaries have upped their campaign for equal pay and conditions with demonstrations on Saturday outside education minister Joe McHugh’s constituency office, as well as Department of Education offices in Dublin and Athlone.

The rallies took place as the trade union Fórsa prepares to reveal the result of a nationwide ballot for industrial action in its campaign for fair pay and working conditions for school secretaries. The ballot outcome will be announced tomorrow, Monday.

The union balloted its members over the summer after the Department of Education refused to discuss proposals to overcome a two-tier system that leaves most school 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 has mounted a campaign for pay justice for school secretaries, most of whom are very poorly paid and have irregular, short-term contracts that force them to sign on during the summer holidays and other school breaks.

As previously reported by LookLeft, this is because of an antiquated and discriminatory employment status, foisted upon school secretaries in 1978. Under these regulations, a minority of directly-employed secretaries have public service status, while the majority are employed directly by schools, which determine their pay and conditions.

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