The following TUI motion on precarious and casualised work was passed by ICTU's biennial conference on Wednesday.
Precarious and Casualised Work
Session 4 : Public Services
Motion 37 )
Congress notes that Article 25 of the UN Declaration of Universal Human Rights, 1948 states that Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social service....
Congress is of the belief that casualised work is the antithesis of the regular, secure and progressive employment required to ensure the fulfillment of this universal human right.
- the crisis of casualised employment (resulting from precarious employment contracts) in teaching, lecturing and other employments;
- the rapidly increasing number of teachers, lecturers and other employees in both the private and public sectors who are in fixed-term or casual, part-time employment;
- that many employees in casualised /precarious employment are suffering acute income poverty;
- that employment on fixed-term as opposed to permanent contracts has become the norm for new employees;
- that the decision to engage employees on fixed term contracts is, in both the public and private sectors, a decision of the employer;
- that in the public sector, and specifically in the education sector, there is no embargo on initial appointment on a permanent basis provided such appointment is within the authorized staff allocation;
- that employers who make fixed-term appointments typically cite a need for flexibility as their reason for doing so and that, in the main, this argument is specious and cynical;
- that a subset of those employees who secure permanency by way of a contract of indefinite duration are, nonetheless, confined to a fixed hourly rate of pay and are denied a career structure, including an incremental scale and associated terms and conditions, that would provide a viable, sustainable standard of living;
- that some employers inappropriately use casualisation as a means of exercising command and control over employees;
- that many part-time, fixed-term or casual employees experience the constant fear of losing part or all of their income if they submit legitimate requests, claims or demands for greater stability, certainty and progression in their employment;
- that some employers are exploiting casualised employees by threatening negative consequences if they join or becoming active in a union; that some employers are exploiting casualised employees by requiring additional unpaid work of them;
- that casualisation is very damaging to morale, collegiality and the quality of the public education system, other public services and, indeed, all employments;
that casualisation is a driver of emigration by young Irish women and men;
- that casualisation in the education sector is unnecessary and illogical given the sharp and ongoing increase in student numbers at all levels;
- that employers, when pressed to address the crisis of casualisation, frequently respond by offering inferior, un-agreed contracts with a view to undermining the pay and conditions of the established and agreed grade/s.
Congress considers that the purpose of this casualisation is to:
- demoralise, and exert excessive control over employees in the education sector and in other employments;
- engender division among employees, in the education sector and in other employments;
- exploit vulnerable fixed term, part-time and casual employees;
- collapse salary structures and conditions of employment by engineering a spurious rationale for equalisation through reductions;
- discourage membership of and active participation in trade unions, including teacher unions;
- create a culture of timid individualism in order to maximise the power and discretion of employers.
Congress notes that motion 28 of BDC 2013 stated that:
“in order, inter alia,
- to achieve equality of treatment and parity of professional esteem for all teachers
- to secure application to all of the salary structure that applies to pre-2011 entrants;
- to protect the quality of the public education system by maintaining its capacity to attract entrants of the highest calibre;
The Irish Congress of Trade Unions, in solidarity with the unions in the education sector, will undertake a sustained campaign to arrest and reverse the casualisation of the profession and to vindicate the rights and entitlements of teachers and lecturers.
Specifically, it will:
- establish a high level working group, under the aegis of the Executive Council, to develop and implement a comprehensive strategy to combat casualisation;
- advise government that the reversal of casualisation is a key and immediate demand of Congress;
- organise and co-ordinate collective trade union responses and actions, as necessary;
- utilise all available industrial relations and legal processes and mechanisms, at both national and European levels, to challenge and reverse the drift towards casualisation;
- raise awareness within the trade union movement of the destructive effects of casualisation; support those unions that take action against casualisation;
- prioritise the issue in trade union training.”
- condemns the practice of employing workers in casual employment ignoring the right to a secure, progressive employment that will provide an adequate, viable standard of living;
- will prioritise this issue for sustained action, including industrial action - where appropriate and decided by members of the relevant union/s in ballot;
- will invite unions to identify employers that appear to exploit casualised labour;
- will publish and regularly update a listing of such employers;
- will highlight and publicise the effects of such casualisation on workers and their families;
- will assert, through publication and public discourse, the right of all workers to employment that is secure and that allows an employee to progress in a career, as outlined in the Universal Human Right to an adequate, viable standard of living.
Teachers’ Union of Ireland