Thursday, 23 September 2021
Department of Education and Skills
School secretaries and caretakers are valued members of our school communities and my Department is fully aware of the vitally important role played by them in the running of our schools.
I welcome the significant progress that has been made through the WRC in recent days. This builds upon previous recommendations of an independent arbitrator for a cumulative pay increase of 10% between 2016 and 2019 and that a minimum hourly pay rate of €13 be phased in over that period.
Fórsa trade union has tabled a follow-on claim and officials from the Department and school management bodies have been engaging with Fórsa on the issues. On the 27th of October 2020, under the auspices of the WRC, an understanding was agreed on a pathway to progress the issues.
Following intensive discussions at the WRC on the 13th September, significant progress has been made in this dispute. Subject to agreement on all elements of the claim, the Department has offered to move School Secretaries’ pay rates to a scale which is aligned with the Clerical Officer Grade III pay scale within education and training boards on a pro rata basis with an effective date of implementation for these new pay arrangements of 1st September 2021.
There is also agreement in principle to take the same approach to the consideration of appropriate pay and conditions of grant funded caretakers and when the final package for secretaries has been agreed and an implementation plan in place intensive engagement will begin on achieving that.
I welcome the deferral of the action scheduled for Wednesday 15th September to allow for intensive talks to resume aimed at resolving the claim and agreeing a final package and I look forward to continued progress under the WRC.