The continued maltreatment of researchers in the university sector can no longer be tolerated and must be urgently addressed by the Department of Education and universities alike, Michael Delargey, UCC-based President of the Irish Federation of University Teachers, said at the 2017 Conference of IFUT in Dublin (Sat. May 6th 2017).
To attract and retain more people into research, it must be made a sustainable career choice.
“The Department of Education and Skills can no longer be allowed to avoid the thorny issue of addressing issues around absence of a proper research career structures.
“Specifically the injustice of excluding researchers’ issues from the Expert (Cush) Report, published last year, must be addressed and rectified,” he said.
The recent success by IFUT in the protracted seven year Tyndall dispute in UCC shows that progress can be achieved. After interminable trips to the WRC and Labour Court, a Job Evaluation Exercise and an Appeals process, IFUT members in Cork finally saw an increase in pay last month on more appropriate pay scales.
“It fully vindicates IFUT’s decision to make the rights of researchers one of the priority areas for our work.
“In this regard, I strongly welcome the proposal by our researcher members for establishment of an IFUT national sub-group on researchers. We will become stronger by involving the maximum possible number of researchers, to improve the working conditions of all academic staff. ”
“The Tyndall agreement excluded post-doctoral researchers. The inclusion of a training element to post-doctoral posts in our universities as a means to avoid obligations under the Fixed-Term Workers Act, is demeaning to those who have completed at least eight years formal education. They are not trainees.
“I call upon the Department of Education and Skills, DPER, HEA and the IUA to immediately sit down with us and begin developing a comprehensive career path for all researchers at all levels,” Michael Delargey said.
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