Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) Council has passed a motion supporting SIPTU and Unite members in Trinity in their potential industrial action against College. Union members include most non-academic college workers, such as library, security, and cleaning staff.
Both SIPTU and UNITE are threatening industrial action after a breakdown in negotiations with College over a number of staff issues. Both Unions claim that Trinity have not been filling staff vacancies, and that moves towards privatisation and restructuring of promotion practices disadvantage staff. SIPTU declared their intention to ballot their members for a strike this morning after college presented a document to staff outlining concessions, which they described as “vague” and insufficient. Unite are expected to declare their intention to ballot members as well after a further meeting in the coming days.
The motion was proposed by TCDSU President Kieran McNulty, who said that he had spoken to union members in the college about their concerns. He argued that students should support the motion to express solidarity with college staff: “we should be supporting our staff who support us every day”. There were no questions or comments from other students with in relation to the motion.
Leading figures from both Unite and SIPTU spoke to Trinity News regarding the action. Dr. Kieran Jack McGinley, section committee organiser of SIPTU in Trinity, highlighted “disappointment in relation to the fact that there was no suggested fix for the fact that permanent contracts are not being issued to staff,” as well as over the non-filling of vacancies by the college. Cierán Perry, a shop steward with UNITE, said that they were “in the same boat” as SIPTU.
Trinity News also reported that Trinity’s industrial relations issues have been raised several times recently in the Dáil, with TDs Clare Daly, Paul Murphy, and Tommy Broughan all receiving written answers on the issue from the Minister for Education and Skills.
During a separate portion of the evening devoted to local issues, union members were critical of college security staff, with one class rep describing security as “rude,” and another noting that security have been refusing to cooperate with students seeking to avail of the “safe-walks” initiative, in which students are walked to their home on campus by a member of college security staff.