On Thursday and Friday, 22nd & 23rd of August, IFUT were visited by a Delegation from the Independent Union of Research and Higher Education Employees Union of Croatia, the IURHEEC who were in Ireland on a study visit to learn about the approaches IFUT are taking to dispute resolution in furtherance of achieving the aims of those we represent. While many of the challenges facing Croatian Academics are similar to those facing ourselves there are quite different mechanisms to resolve disputes. A central difference between our system and the Croatian model is the fact that many of the key terms and conditions of employment, such as workload models for example, are agreed at national level with most Academics being paid directly by the state.
Those entering academia in Croatia face common challenges with 'early career' Academics in Ireland. Our visitors were interested in learning about the Report of the Expert Group on Fixed-term and Part-Time Employment in Lecturing and how IFUT has recently secured agreement with the Irish Universities Association, IUA, on an adjudication process (The Cush Adjudication Process) that enables us to vindicate the rights under the Report in circumstances where Lecturers are not securing their entitlements to contracts of indefinite duration.
In the course of their visit Fiona Lee, Industrial Relations Officer, gave the group an overview of how IFUT, as a small independent union works. The IURHEEC represent all grades and categories of employee working in Higher Education and so were interested in learning about a union specialising in representing a limited number of grades. The group were very fortunate to have the opportunity to meet with Dr Darren Fayne, Senior Research Fellow in Trinity, who outlined to them the particular challenges facing Researchers in Ireland. Darren arranged for the group to have a tour of the Book of Kells while in Trinity, which hopefully was one of the highlights of their brief visit to Dublin.
On the second day of the group’s visit we met with Dr Alastair McKinstry who gave our visitors an overview of the Irish Centre for High-End Computing in NUI Galway where he is based. Alastair took the opportunity too to inform our Visitors of his role on the IFUT Executive Committee and his responsibilities in Galway as a newly elected Councillor for the Green Party.