Date Released: 24 February 2015
The SIPTU Academic Stewards Committee at NUI Galway has expressed its support for colleagues at St Angela’s College in Sligo who have voted overwhelmingly for industrial action over the demotion of staff. Lecturers at St Angela’s have been told that they will be placed on lower grades following the planned merger with NUIG while other staff have been provided with no guarantees over their future terms and conditions of employment.
”We send solidarity and greetings to all of our colleagues in Sligo, support staff and academics, in your current struggle for fair treatment from NUI Galway’s management team. In yet another example of the deep-rooted problems at the university, NUIG management has failed to consider the very reasonable requests of the Sligo staff and unions for meaningful consultation.
“We understand that most of the lecturing staff in Sligo face demotion to the grade of ‘University Teacher’. We are shocked once again that the majority of the people they want to downgrade are women. We can only think that NUIG management is trying to create a precedent with Sligo for downgrading some academics on the Galway campus as well. We have also learned that the support staff including caterers, cleaners and clerical workers cannot get guarantees on their terms and conditions of employment, including their pension entitlements. Again we fear a precedent is being created for all of us.
“This is no way to welcome new colleagues to the University. For our part we are delighted you will be joining us and we intend to work with you to protect all of us from our common employer.
“In recent times, NUI Galway’s management has adopted an increasingly unilateral, top-down approach to decision-making and the St Angela’s situation is only one of a number of recent examples. Only last week, three women members of staff representing SIPTU at a meeting on discrimination with University management were told that it would be a ‘nonsense to consult with everyone in the audience’ by which was meant the unions and the people we represent.
“We call on NUI Galway’s President and the University’s management team to stop trying to take advantage of those least able to defend themselves, in this case our colleagues at St Angela’s and to begin to deal with all your employees and the unions that represent us with the respect we deserve. To do anything less, is to undermine the fundamental job of this institution - teaching and research.”