Cleaners at Cabinteely Community School have begun the first in a series of work stoppages in a dispute over the proposed outsourcing of their work to a private contract cleaning company.

The cleaners are members of SIPTU and the union has backed the work stoppages.

SIPTU Organiser, Geoff McEvoy, said: “It is unacceptable for the management at Cabinteely Community School to put the jobs of their lowest paid members of staff in jeopardy in the middle of the State exams.

“The Department of Education can no longer stand over a state of affairs that sees these workers excluded from the protections of the public services agreements.

“In order to avoid any impact on students taking the state exams, our members have decided to not place pickets on the premises during these one day work stoppages,” he said.

According to the Department of Education, employees of a school are employed by the board of management of that school and “any dispute between those employees and the school is a local matter.”

McEvoy says that the “dispute did not happen overnight.”

“Our members have attempted to resolve this many times over the last six months. SIPTU representatives met with the principal of Cabinteely Community School and advised that any attempt to outsource the work of our members would be met with strong resistance from our union.

“Management’s decision to ignore our member calls for fairness have led to the dispute.

“SIPTU representatives are demanding that the board of management immediately revises its original decision to outsource our members work.

“This will allow for the possibility of meaningful negotiations to take place. Until then, our members have no choice but to continue this industrial action.”

In a statement made to Dublin Gazette, “the Board of Management of Cabinteely Community School are disappointed that SIPTU and the cleaning staff have taken this course of action, especially during state exams.

“The board are engaged in discussions with the cleaning staff and SIPTU and, to that end, have appointed an independent sub-committee to meet with the cleaning staff and the union on 20 June 2019.

“All issues are open for discussion. The board is committed to the welfare of its students and staff.”