Sinn Féin TD for Dublin South West Seán Crowe has described the Government’s refusal to even discuss matters such as sick pay, maternity pay or all year round employment with school secretaries and their union Fórsa as “a complete failure to understand or care about the needs of workers”.

Teachta Crowe said:

“School secretaries are invaluable members of our schools and our communities, often working above and beyond their job requirements. They work on the front line and are the first port of call for parents and students. Without them, our schools would simply not function.

“Secretaries have low pay, no holiday pay, no sick pay, no real job security, certainly no occupational pensions, and no access to public service salary scales.

“The Department of Education have failed to seriously engage with school staff or their union representatives to resolve these issues. They would not even discuss them with the secretaries and their union Fórsa which led to the breakdown in talks yesterday.

“The public service should be a leader in providing fair pay and conditions for employees, but this Government either does not know about the needs of workers or it doesn’t care. Sometimes, it seems like both.

“The union is now balloting for an escalation in their dispute. This government went hell for leather to reopen our schools, but have not spared one seconds thoughts for the secretaries, teachers, or cleaning staff that work in those schools. They now face industrial action from both secretaries and teachers.

“Sinn Féin in government would protect and provide for workers and their families. The callous disregard of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael must come to an end.”