Ongoing insecurity of SNA role must be reviewed
Following a seminar hosted by Labour Party, Labour education spokesperson Aodhán Ó Ríordáin and employment spokesperson Marie Sherlock have called for stronger workers’ rights for SNAs.
Deputy Ó Ríordáin said:
“In the week of teachers’ unions conferences, we in the Labour Party wanted to highlight the disparity in terms and conditions between SNAs and their colleagues. This is a fundamental question of workers’ rights and many of the issues discussed point to a lack of respect shown to SNAs by their employer, the State.
“No other groups of public sector workers are treated with the same lack of respect as SNAs. The ongoing insecurity of the role is having a profound impact of SNAs. It is still viewed as a scheme, rather than a profession, meaning they have no permanency or career progression built into the role.
“On fundamental workers’ rights issues, our SNAs are entitled to less bereavement leave than our teachers. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. During the pandemic, we heard reports of some SNAs doing extra hours ranging from supervising students with no special needs to administrative work.
“SNAs are absolutely fundamental to the education system. They work with the most vulnerable children. They can’t continue to be treated like an afterthought by the Department of Education.”