SIPTU members of non-academic staff have voted to strike, having been balloted over the last two weeks. Out of a total valid poll of 551 votes, 395 voted in favour of strike action with 148 votes against. A second ballot on general industrial action, with a valid poll of 545 votes, passed with 489 votes in favour and 56 votes against.
Members of both unions have been in dispute with College management in recent months over changes to hiring and promotion policies. On February 14 a section meeting of SIPTU in Trinity saw the presentation of a document from College to union members, outlining proposed concessions and changes in areas identified as problematic by the union.
Karl Byrne, national education sector organiser for SIPTU, has previously told Trinity News that SIPTU “were frustrated at the lack of any tangible progress in relation to two issues” – being permanent contracts and the non-replacement of permanent staff. “It is our committee view that these fixed-term contracts are a means to avoid members getting permanent and pensionable jobs on proper contracts of employment.”
Speaking to Trinity News, Director of Public Affairs and Communications Tom Molloy said: “The university continues to talk to officials on a regular basis. We hope for a satisfactory outcome. We have not been notified as of yet of any possible action by the union and I hope it won’t come to that.”
The exact wording of the ballot was: “Arising from the decision by the employer (TCD) to offer no permanent contracts, replace permanent positions with Fixed Term Contracts of varying lengths and the non-replacement of Permanent staff (in breach of clause 3.3.5 of the P.S.A.), I resolve the following: I am in favour of taking Strike Action (a full withdrawal of labour and the placing of pickets) in order to oppose the employer’s unilateral action, as highlighted above. The form, nature and duration of such action to be decided by the Union. Or I am not in favour of taking Strike Action (a full withdrawal of labour and the placing of pickets) in order to oppose the employer’s unilateral action, as highlighted above. The form, nature and duration of such action to be decided by the Union.”
The College will now be notified of the SIPTU result in the coming days, with UNITE finishing balloting next week. The TCD-SIPTU Section Committee will meet in the week of March 20th to “determine what specified actions will be part of the servicing of strike and industrial action”.