School secretaries across this region, are set to join their colleagues nationally today in a one-hour work stoppage in protest over “precarious” working conditions.

Pupils and parents are unlikely to be affected, as teaching unions do not have a mandate to join in the industrial action, and classes are due to operate as normal.

However, the trade union Fórsa said secretaries would operate a “significant” work-to-rule following the protest. This will involve withdrawing from work on public service systems and databases.

It expects this action will cause significant disruption to the administration of the schools sector without affecting students or parents.

Up to 1,000 school secretaries are due to take part in the work stoppage and demonstrations are due outside an estimated 250 schools.

 Mayo Sinn Féin Senator Rose Conway-Walsh insists that the Department of Education and Minister Joe McHugh should meet the very reasonable ask of School Secretaries who wish to see an end to two-tier pay, and wish to see basic employment rights afforded to them.

 Speaking to Midwest News this morning as she joins the protest at Belmullet National School Senator Conway-Walsh says she raised the exploitation of School Secretaries in the Seanad earlier this year asking the Minister to right the wrongs of the past and the present.

Their claim, she says, is entirely justified. All they ask is to be employed as public servants, with the same contractual security as their colleagues. At present they have low pay, no holiday pay, no sick pay, no real job security, occupational pensions, and no access to public service salary scales.

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