School secretaries feature in RTE precarious work report

DrivetimeMembers of IMPACT’s School Secretaries branch took part in a special report on RTE’s Drivetime programme, broadcast on Tuesday 5th December, highlighting the issue of precarious work.

The segment, by reporter Barry Lenihan, followed a number of case studies on precarious work. Previously, the programme had covered the issue in the construction, finance and hospitality sectors.

The broadcast features Eileen Barry of IMPACT’s School Secretaries branch. Eileen explained background to the uncertainty and inequity around school secretaries pay and terms of employment: “Because individual boards of management determine the pay and conditions of the school secretary we actually have a chaotic, multi-tiered, system running all over the country, where no national standard exists.”

Earlier this year it emerged the union had to take individual schools to task because they had withheld the 2.5% pay increase due to school secretaries since the beginning of 2017. This was despite the Department of Education and Skills making the funding available to apply the increase.


The broadcast followed the Irish Congress of Trade Unions call for the government to act with urgency to address the problem of precarious work, following the release of a new Congress study that shows precarious and insecure work is now ‘pervasive’ across the economy and has risen significantly since 2008.

The new Congress study – Insecure & Uncertain’; Precarious Work in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Irelandreveals an alarming growth in precarious work practices across the island of Ireland, since 2008 and is the first study to examine the problem north and south of the border.

Congress General Secretary Patricia King said the report confirmed that there was now “an urgent necessity for government to address this problem decisively through legislation, once and for all. As the study clearly illustrates the impact of precarious work extends well beyond the workplace and its unchallenged growth raises profound questions as to the type of society we wish to live in.

You can listen back to the Drivetime broadcast here.