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Doherty secures Seanad debate on pay and conditions of school secretaries and caretakers

24 April, 2008


Speaking in the Seanad today Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson Senator Pearse Doherty called for an urgent debate on the issue of school secretaries and caretakers who are being paid below the minimum wage and do not have access to the same terms and conditions of other workers.

Senator Doherty said, "I call for a debate on the issue of a group of employees who are being paid below the minimum wage, a group of employees who do not have access to pensions rights, PRSA, sick leave schemes or promotional opportunities. The rights and entitlements of these people are being abused.

"Senators may think these employees are being hired by an unscrupulous agency - we previously had a debate about agency workers in this House - but that is not the case. I refer to employees working in our primary and secondary schools, namely, caretakers and school secretaries. Some are paid as little as €6.02 per hour. They are paid indirectly by the Department of Education and Science with the Minister's full knowledge that such people are being paid below the minimum wage.

"One school secretary is being paid €6.02 per hour, another is paid €7.70 and another little more than €8 per hour. It is appalling that the Minister and the Department of Education and Science allow Irish workers to be abused in this way. I call for an urgent debate on this issue." ENDS

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