Motion passed mandating that TCDSU adopt a living wage plus holiday pay for union employees

President Leah Keogh proposed the motion, which was seconded by STEM Convenor Zoe Cummins

A motion was passed mandating that Trinity College Student’s Union (TCDSU) adopt the living wage plus holiday pay for their employees at this evening’s Council meeting.

TCDSU President Leah Keogh proposed the motion, which was seconded by STEM Convenor Zoe Cummins.

According to the motion, “the living wage is intended to establish an hourly wage rate that should provide employees with sufficient income to achieve an agreed acceptable minimum standard of living”.

Currently, the living wage in Dublin is €12.90 per hour, according to the Living Wage Technical Group, as opposed to the minimum wage which is €10.50 per hour.

The motion references the rising cost of College life for students in Dublin, who currently pay the highest fees in the European Union. Keogh noted that 20 of the union’s 30 employees are students.

Findings from the Economist Intelligence Unit’s (EIU) Worldwide Cost of Living index 2021 reveal that Dublin is the most expensive European city to live in, and among the world’s top 20 most expensive cities.

In Keogh’s Welfare & Equality Annual Report 2021, she found that such costs place a significant financial strain on students and impact their mental health and academic performance.

The motion amends the contracts of union staff to reflect this change by the week beginning Monday 28 February 2022.

Speaking to Trinity News before Council, Keogh said: “Trinity students pay the highest fees in the European Union and some of the most expensive rents in the world.”

“Naturally, this is negatively impacting student performance. As a students’ union we thought it important to lead by example in the hopes that others will follow suit”: she continued.

Speaking at Council this evening, Leah Keogh said: “Give us permission to pay our employees the living wage”.

“We hope that others will follow suit if we lead by example”: she continued.

STEM Convenor Zoe Cummins said: “I have worked 20 hours a week to pay my rent, feed myself, pay my bills”.

“A union that makes sure it can treat its employees fairly can treat its students fairly (…) I am one of the employees so please give me a pay rise”: she added.

Senior Sophister Irish class rep Cúnla Morris urged students to vote in favour of the motion and “give [the union] a better wage”.

“We make leap cards! We need reparation! Guys with pints on their cards aren’t funny”: they added.

A question posed by Craig Gillepsie asked if “there is any controversy” that TCDSU were proposing raising their own wages, to which Keogh said: “We’re in a financial situation at the moment where this won’t sink the union. This will also increase sabbatical officers’ wages by €20 a week.”

“This will set a precedent for the college when they employ students,” she continued.

Additional reporting by Jack Kennedy, Kate Henshaw, Grace Gageby, Ellen Kenny, Connie Roughan and Caroline Higgins.

Bella Salerno

Bella Salerno is currently a Deputy News Editor of Trinity News. She is a Senior Fresh Middle Eastern, Jewish and Islamic Civilisations and French student.