Members of public services union Forsa who work as school secretaries (head of administration in schools) have voted with a nine-to-one majority to take industrial action from 20 September. The secretaries have a long-standing issue over a two-tier system that leaves most of them who are employed by schools on low pay and without other benefits such as sick pay and pensions. In contrast, a minority are directly employed public servants who benefit from much better pay and conditions. The action will mainly consist of a work-to-rule.
School secretaries to take industrial action over pay and conditions
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School secretaries organised by the Fórsa trade union planned a one-day strike on 10 January and further industrial action in support of their campaign for pay justice (see EPSU CB News 17 and 18, September 2019). Nine out of 10 school secretaries are employed by their local school, are paid less than EUR 12500 a year and have precarious employment conditions. In contrast, one in 10 are directly employment by the department of education and have the appropriate pay and conditions of public servants. EPSU sent a message of solidarity.
Following the strike action by school secretaries on 10 January and subsequent industrial action (work-to-rule), Forsa their trade union has agreed to return to talks with the government that are being held by the Workplace Relations Committee conciliation service. The strike action is over the poor pay and conditions suffered by around 2000 school secretaries employed on precarious contracts by local schools (see last issue of EPSU Collective Bargaining News). Forsa is looking for real and significant progress in the talks otherwise the industrial action will re-start.
Over 250 schools across the country saw action by school secretaries (heads of administration) with widespread support from teaching staff and parents. The action was over the fact that the vast majority of school secretaries are on precarious contracts and paid up to EUR 12500 less than school secretaries directly employed by the ministry of education. The action went ahead on 20 September after negotiations with the ministry failed to deliver a breakthrough.