School secretaries' right to pay and employment security must be resolved - Nolan
Independent TD for Offaly, Carol Nolan has said that the "inequity and insecurity that continues to characterise how school secretaries are being treated with respect to their pay and conditions are shameful and must be brought to an end."
Deputy Nolan was speaking after she challenged the Minister for Education, Joe McHugh, on his plans to intervene and resolve the long running dispute which has seen school secretaries denied access to the kind of basic pension and pay entitlements that are available to other workers in the public sector:
"There must not be a hierarchy of value when it comes to the vital role that each member of the school community plays," she said
"Unfortunately, that is what we are witnessing when it comes to the value that the Department and in certain cases, Boards of Management, are placing on the role and function of school secretaries."
"The Minister says that the secretaries pay has improved, but what he fails to acknowledge is the completely uneven nature of these improvements and how much they are at the total discretion of individual schools."
"Most parents would be horrified to think that their own school secretary, who in many cases is a person they would have known across the lifetime of all of their children, was the subject of such inequitable and unfair treatment."
"We know for example that about nine out of every ten secretaries perform functions that are the equivalent to, or exceed, the work of public service workers. Yet despite that, they have been excluded from accessing equivalent rights to salary scales, sick pay and pension pay," Nolan blasted.
"If we allow that situation to persist what we are effectively saying to school secretaries is that while we will praise your work and tell you how wonderful you are; we will not match that with concrete action like improved pay and conditions."
"That to me is utterly unacceptable and it must stop,” concluded Deputy Nolan.