Date Released: 18 January 2017
The SIPTU Education Sector hosted a seminar on the future funding and precarious employment in the third level education sector in Liberty Hall Theatre, Dublin 1, on Wednesday, 18th January.
The seminar entitled ‘Towards a World Class Funded Education System?’ was attended by delegates from third level institutions from across the country including the main Dublin universities, NUI Galway, Cork and Maynooth.
Speakers included Peter Cassells, chair of the government appointed expert group on the future funding of higher education, Tom Healy, Director of NERI, Liam Berney, ICTU and John King SIPTU Public Administration and Community Division Organiser.
SIPTU Education Sector President, Jack McGinley, said: “There was consensus at the meeting that in order for Ireland to have a world class third level education system it must be appropriately and directly funded by government. Its funding should also include an increased contribution from employers towards the training levy of double the current 0.7%, which raised €350 million in 2015.”
He added: “Delegates also expressed concern over the need to increase access to third level education for students from low income families, including the provision of increased maintenance grants. One delegate pointed out that many parents are already accessing credit union loans in order to pay for student contributions for their children.”
SIPTU Education Sector Organiser, Karl Byrne, said: “In the afternoon session, delegates heard about the impact of precarious employment across the university sector. SIPTU activists in NUI Galway, including Maggie Ronayne, outlined the specific effect of precarious employment in their workplace and the campaign they have launched in order to mobilise union members against the continuation of such practices by management.”
He added: “A SIPTU activist from Trinity College, Dublin outlined the unacceptable position of new entrants to the education sector workforce. These workers find themselves employed on the first point on the pay scale and being paid 10% less than colleagues recruited before 2011. She called for an immediate end to these discriminatory practices.
“Delegates were informed that the SIPTU Education Sector Committee is finalising plans for a national campaign on precarious employment and the position of new entrants.”