New business school plans criticised by underpaid third-level workers

Third Level Workplace watch have called the capital investment into the new business school ‘wage theft’ and are demanding more from college and the government.


Third Level Workplace Watch, a group of third‐level workers who campaign for fair pay and job security, have criticised College’s planned investment of €70 million in the development of the Trinity Business School. Speaking to Trinity News about the construction, a representative for the group said that it “makes no sense to cut jobs but invest in buildings.” They also highlighted the fact that while student fees have increased in recent years, there has been no comparable rise in staff pay. Writing on their Facebook page recently, the group further condemned the business school plans, commenting: “TCD building a new business school for €70 million as part of a €295 million capital investment plan. David McWilliams hired as a star economist. That’s what wage theft is for!”

The group’s representative also claimed that one of the main barriers to improving working conditions in the third‐level sector is the perception that academia is a well‐paid and comfortable profession. “Our struggle is not the struggle of privileged, over‐educated people,” they said.

A postdoctoral researcher at Trinity, who did not wish to be named, spoke to Trinity News about precarious working conditions in the college. “After eight years studying in the university, and graduating with a PhD, I have been left feeling that I have no future and that my contribution to research and teaching is not valued,” they said. The same academic noted that their research was not progressing as it should, due to a lack of funding.

Mike Jennings of the Irish Federation of University Teachers (IFUT) told Trinity News that the majority of the federation’s casework is taken up with fighting for the statutory rights of workers employed on temporary contracts and, while many expect this to be a problem mainly affecting newly qualified staff and postgraduate tutors, academic workers can be on successive temporary contracts for more than a decade.

Both IFUT and Third Level Workplace Watch said that they are currently seeking action from the government and third‐level institutions in order to improve working conditions. Jennings said that IFUT has called on the Minister for Education, Jan O’Sullivan, to make a public statement on precarious employment in higher education before the end of the year.