Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Education, Thomas Byrne, has called on the Minster for Education to immediately engage with representatives of school secretaries. Deputy Byrne was commenting as it emerged that school secretaries are set to ballot for industrial action.

He said, “The move made by representatives of school secretaries to ballot for industrial action follows a refusal on the part of the Department of Education to engage with representatives seeking to address the two tier pay scale within the sector.

“Despite numerous calls for action on my part and that of other Oireachtas colleagues, the Minister has chosen to let the situation reach an unsustainable boiling point without taking any action.

“We have a ridiculous situation where some schools have members of staff sitting across from each other and they may be on drastically different salaries and drastically different levels of job security. It needs to be addressed.

“Despite the comments made by the Minister for Education in recent weeks that he intended to have a comprehensive look at this issue rather than just meeting for the sake of meeting, this is exactly what appears to have happened.

“Obviously, nobody wants to see industrial action which could affect schools, but the reality is that school secretaries have a clear, ongoing issue, which the Department of Education will not even engage on.

“The Minister needs address the matter head-on and end the delaying tactics which have become common place with this issue. He should direct the Department of Education to engage with representatives from Forsa as a matter of priority”, concluded Deputy Byrne.