On foot of a Chairman's Note to the Lansdowne Road Agreement, my Department engaged with the Unions representing school secretaries and caretakers, including through an independent arbitration process in 2015. The Arbitrator recommended a cumulative pay increase of 10% between 2016 and 2019 for staff and that a minimum hourly pay rate of €13 be phased in over that period.
The arbitration agreement was designed to be of greatest benefit to lower-paid secretaries and caretakers. For example, a secretary or caretaker who was paid the then minimum wage of €8.65 per hour in 2015 prior to the arbitration has from 1 January 2019, been paid €13 per hour which is a 50% increase in that individual's hourly pay.
The increases recommended by the Arbitrator are binding and must be applied by all schools who employ staff to whom the Arbitrator's recommendation applies.
Funding to implement the terms of the arbitration agreement was available to schools during the period of the agreement which concluded on the 31st December 2019. Accordingly, the additional Ancillary Grant funding referred to by the Deputy is not payable following its expiration.
The Financial Service Support Unit is an important source of advice and is available to primary schools to assist on financial matters. Should the school referred to by the Deputy continue to experience financial difficulties my Department may request the FSSU to conduct a Financial Internal Control Review in order to provide advice and support to the school.