FLASHBACK:School secretaries at a Forsa rally at the Department of Education, Athlone, in September 2019, to campaign for fair pay and working conditions.

Troy welcomes agreement to ballot on proposals for school secretaries

Minister of State and Fianna Fáil TD for Longford/Westmeath Robert Troy has welcomed Fórsa’s decision to ballot members on proposals to settle a claim in relation to school secretaries at the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC).

The Department of Education, school management bodies and Fórsa have been engaging on a claim relating to terms and conditions for grant-funded school secretaries under the auspices of the WRC.

Following further talks at the WRC, a package to settle the claim was proposed which Fórsa have decided to recommend to its members.

In recognition of the invaluable work carried out by school secretaries the Department has offered to move school secretaries’ pay rates to a scale which is aligned with the Clerical Officer Grade III pay scale on a pro rata basis according to a secretary’s current working pattern.

According to Troy, the proposals include an implementation process that will provide for pay increases (backdated to 1 September 2021) to school secretaries who choose to move to the new terms. This will also provide for lower-paid but longer serving secretaries to be placed higher up the salary scale.

A new contract will give the option to secretaries that they no longer need to apply to the Department of Social Protection for payment of benefits for periods when they are not working due to school holidays.

Proposals have also been made in relation to issues surrounding annual leave, maternity benefit and sick pay.

An allocation of 22 days annual leave (on a pro rata basis according to a secretary’s current working pattern) is also proposed.

Minister Troy commented: “I welcome Fórsa’s decision to ballot their members on this agreed suite of measures for school secretaries who are the beating heart of our school community. This important step forward is the result of great co-operation on the part of all concerned, and a generosity and willingness to come to the table to engage in discussion and find the pathway forward.”

The Longford/Westmeath TD added: This has been an issue that I have been engaged with stakeholders on throughout the process. This agreement is further acknowledgment of the excellent and often unheralded work carried out on the ground by school secretaries.”