Labour ruling gives hope to unemployed SNAs
on 02/07/2012 00:00:00
Impact and Siptu, the unions representing special needs assistants (SNAs), took the case to the Labour Court seeking a system whereby SNAs could be redeployed to other suitable schools as required.
However, management pushed for the continuation of the current system which, according to unions, meant less experienced and therefore less expensive staff were being brought in instead of their more experienced colleagues.
In its ruling, the Labour Court pointed out that SNAs did not benefit from the employment security commitments provided by the Croke Park deal for public servants.
"There is, however, a sustainable case for affording special needs assistants a greater degree of security in employment than presently exists," the ruling said.
"The court believes that the fairest and most practical way of achieving this objective is to put in place an arrangement whereby special needs assistants whose role is displaced by redundancy can be facilitated in filling similar alternative posts that may become available."
Philip Mullen, Impact assistant general secretary, said the service provided by SNAs was losing out because year-on-year experienced workers were being let go and management was employing people elsewhere.
"Everything we have ever gone looking for as a branch, including terms and conditions, has also had to the very fore that it improves the service to the children that people work with," said Mr Mullen.
"In this case expensive training which has been given to people will be kept in the system."