Precarious Employment at Third Level

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Dáil Issues, Education, Oral Questions


DÁIL QUESTION addressed to the Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton)
by Deputy Clare Daly
for ORAL ANSWER on 01/03/2017
To ask the Minister for Education and Skills his views on the rise of precarious employment and short term contracts in higher education.

In May 2016 I welcomed the publication of the Report of the Chair of the Expert Group on Fixed Term and Part-Time issues in Lecturing in Ireland. The Report contains a number of recommendations that will assist in addressing concerns raised about the level of part-time and fixed-term employment in lecturing in the third level sector.

My Department issued directions to the sector on the 4th July 2016 to implement the recommendations contained in the report in accordance with the terms of the Lansdowne Road Agreement and my understanding is that the Institutions are taking steps to do so.

The above-mentioned Report is specific to concerns raised about part-time and fixed-term employment in lecturing and its recommendations are not applicable to non-lecturing grades.

In line with the Universities Act, 1997, third-level institutions have autonomy in relation to human resource policies, subject to compliance with Government policy in respect of employment numbers and pay policy.  Employers in the higher education sector are also required to operate in accordance with the provisions of national industrial relations agreements.

My Department is not aware of any instance in which a third level institution is not operating in accordance with good practice in relation to work and contract conditions.  In the event that a union has concerns regarding work and contract conditions among staff in any third level institution, that union can seek to have the matter addressed using the dispute resolution procedures provided for in the Haddington Road Agreement, and any individuals who have issues of dispute have a variety of dispute resolution options open to them.