Fórsa, Ireland’s second largest union, has estimated that 90% of School Secretaries are denied basic entitlements, such as sick leave and pension rights. Many School Secretaries work for as little as €12,000 per year and, today, only around 10% of School Secretaries are paid directly by the Department of Education and Skills, meaning that the minority is ensured the same basic rights and entitlements as any other school employee.
Due to the existence of a 2 tier system, in some schools, there can be two secretaries doing the same work, but with one being paid €44,000 per year and the other only €12,000.
Secretaries deserve better. For this reason, I am an ardent supporter of Fórsa’s Support our Secretaries campaign, which comprises 4 parts:
- A national online petition.
- Official declarations of support from Teachers’ Unions and representative bodies.
- A series of nationwide events and public meetings.
- The first ever National Day for School Secretaries.
I hope that others will join me in signing this petition and keeping an eye on where the campaign goes so that we can support our secretaries. And don’t forget that, of course, there is power in a trade union, and it is through your union that you can be most empowered to address inequalities in the workplace.