Nationwide protests: ‘Regional variations in pay and conditions in Technological University sector unacceptable’

By piofficer, Tuesday, 20th February 2024 | 0 comments

Nationwide lunchtime protests at Technological Universities/Institutes of Technology by TUI members over Department’s failure to adhere to national agreement.

At lunchtime on Tuesday, 20th February 2024, third level members of the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) will hold protests over the non-adherence by the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science (DFHERIS) to a collective agreement on the establishment of the Technological University (TU) sector.

The protests will take place at TUs/Institutes of Technology around the country, and service to students will not be affected.

The TUI has said that there can be no regional variations in pay or conditions in the sector, in which it represents 4,600 academic staff. 

Speaking today, TUI General Secretary Michael Gillespie explained why the protests are taking place:

‘In 2017, TUI members at third level voted in a national ballot to accept a collective agreement concerning the establishment of TUs. The agreement provided for retention of the sector – previously the Institute of Technology sector and thenceforth the Technological University sector – and for prior meaningful communication, consultation and, where appropriate, negotiation with the TUI on relevant matters.’

‘Regrettably, DFHERIS and management have not adhered to this collective agreement, deliberately and consistently frustrating the proper functioning of the third level industrial relations fora. TUI has described the Department’s approach as an attempt to have each TU free to operate separately, without regard or recourse to national negotiation. This is a clear and wholly unacceptable breach of a collective agreement accepted in good faith by our members.’

‘Since we raised our serious and justified concerns, the level of engagement from the Department has been extremely disappointing.’

‘Should the Department continue to refuse to engage properly with us, the Union already has a strong mandate for a campaign of industrial action, up to and including strike action, on this critical issue following a national ballot of members last month in which 92% of members polled voted to take industrial action as directed by the Union’s Executive Committee.’

‘Once again, we urge DFHERIS to engage meaningfully with us on these key issues.'