Wednesday 25 April 2018

Swords school board urged to rehire cleaners

Out of work school cleaners protest at Brackenstown school

One of the protesting school cleaners, Lorraine Reilly (second from right) with supporters, outside St Cronan’s Senior National School in Swords
One of the protesting school cleaners, Lorraine Reilly (second from right) with supporters, outside St Cronan’s Senior National School in Swords

John Manning

School cleaners who have found themselves out of a job at a Swords primary school are appealing for the Board of Management of the school to meet them and discuss re-employing them.

Five cleaners at St Cronan's Senior National School in Swords agreed last November to a new contractor coming into the school as long as they were employed by that contractor.

The new contractor, Ailesbury Services took on all five cleaners and the new arrangement worked well until this summer, when the school's Board of Management decided to employ a new contractor, AFM Ireland Ltd, who did not take on the five cleaners, who between them have over 60 years of service at the school.

The five cleaners thought that their jobs would be safe, regardless of the contractor employed to provide cleaning services at the school but as children returned to the school last week, the cleaners were out of a job and instead were holding a protest to highlight their situation outside the school.

The protest made by three of the five cleaners and their supporters was backed by Siptu and organiser for the union, Paul Hansard said all he wanted to see was a meeting between the new contractor, the school Board of Management and the out of work cleaners to find a way forward.

One of the protesting cleaners, Lorraine Reilly, who has worked at St Cronan's Senior National School for 19 years, said: 'We are protesting because after many years of loyal service to the school our jobs have been given to a cleaning company which has not taken us on.

'There have been cleaners on site since August 28 and we are now unemployed.

'We are receiving super support from family, the community, councillors and local TDs. They have all wished us the best of luck in getting our jobs back.'

Chairperson of the school's Board of Management is the local parish priest, Fr Paul Thornton.

The Fingal Independent made numerous attempts to contact Fr Thornton for a comment on the issue but was not able to reach him.

The current contractor at the school, AFM Ireland, was also contacted by the Fingal Independent.

General Manager of the company, Alan McCormack said he was 'not in a position to speak about staff that are not on our books'.Asked about the workers being taken on by whatever contractor provided cleaning services in the school, Mr McCormack said he did not wish to make any further comment.

The protesting cleaners are now gathering a petition locally and lobbying local political representatives on the issue.

Fingal Independent