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Contract researchers getting together

category national | sci-tech | news report author Wednesday November 29, 2006 15:16author by TestTubeBoy Report this post to the editors

Contract researchers are forming an association to improve their lot

A meeting was held on Monday 27 November at the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland after the IRCSET conference on ‘The Post-Doctoral Experience’. The meeting was organised by the Trinity Research Staff Association (http://www.gen.tcd.ie/molpopgen/trsa).

Contract researchers are essential to the ‘knowledge-based economy’ of which the government is so fond, yet CRs are usually placed on fixed-term contracts of short duration. This makes applying for mortgages etc very difficult and contributes to researchers leaving academia and going into industry, often into jobs which do not reflect the experiences and skills gained in research. Basic requirements such as annual pay rises to reflect inflation and access to pensions are also not being met. Although the Irish Universities Association provides a salary scale for researchers (http://www.iua.ie/core_activities/documents/06scalesdef...c.pdf) this is honoured more in the breach than in the observance – indeed, some contributors to the IRCSET conference in senior management positions made veiled threats that paying researchers appropriately would lead to a reduction in the amount of research being done.

The meeting ended with call for contacts in other institutions and the formation of other research staff associations in other universities.

Two organisers from SIPTU were also in attendance and offered their assistance in forming a national association. Although some voices were against this, the majority feeling was that once a national association was up and running, it would be important to forge links with university unions which represent academic and technical employees and which negotiate on pay and conditions with the universities.

Related Link: http://www.gen.tcd.ie/molpopgen/trsa
author by Stuartpublication date Thu Nov 30, 2006 13:08author address author phone Report this post to the editors

By coincidence (?!) I received notice by post yesterday that "the Trustees have resolved to exercise their statutory powers to transfer Deferred Members' entitlements to Personal Retirement Bonds", i.e. a compulsory transfer out of the university's pension fund.

Is this a defensive precursor to the outcome of a European Court of Justice decision on pension claims dating from the effective commencement date of Directive 1999/70/EC (10 July 2001) and not from the later date that the Protection of Employees (Fixed-Term Workers) Act was signed in July 2003?

Related Link: http://www.iol.ie/~stuartneilson/xazoylhs/FTWProtection.htm
author by Terencepublication date Thu Nov 30, 2006 16:24author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Perhaps they should look into the feasibility of joining the new Independent Workers Union.

Details at:

Related Link: http://www.union.ie/iwucontents.htm
author by Scientific Socialist (not in that sense)publication date Fri Dec 01, 2006 05:01author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Great news, the discoveries of science should be for all and not for those whom can pay for it

Interestingly enough, this is a sin in Islamic morality.

author by Lab Ratpublication date Fri Dec 01, 2006 10:40author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The existing academic / research unions (ASA, IFUT, IUA) are as useful as chocolate teapots. They have no policy on conditions for fixed-term workers, who are the majority of their potential members. They have no policy towards workplace harassment, no policy on the systematic elimination of fixed-termers arriving at permanent status and no commitment to equality of any kind. Maternity / paternity leave on fixed-term contracts? Take your chances. Foreign employees exploited in Irish hospitals? Tough. Do you ever see them promoting workplace rights, advocating equality or appearing in court to support victimised researchers?

Their only policy is pay, about which I couldn't give a quack (or squeek).

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