TCD PWO seeks capitation to “ensure long term representation of all of Trinity’s postgraduate researchers”

It is proposed that TCDSU represent postgraduate students in academic affairs, while PWO represents research postgraduates on issues such as workers’ rights and departmental disputes

The Postgraduate Workers’ Organisation (PWO) has submitted a formal request to the Capitations Committee through Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU).

The PWO seek €6,500 in funding, of which it says €4,000 will be allocated to campaigns, €1,000 to events, and €1,500 to communications. 

In a statement provided to Trinity News, the PWO said: “Trinity College has an obligation to ensure full and democratic representation of all the postgraduate researchers (PGRs) in its community.” 

“After the dissolution of the former Graduate Students’ Union (GSU) postgraduate researchers have not had a distinct, dedicated body with high expertise in representing them and their needs.”

“Capitation of PWO TCD is necessary to ensure long term representation of all of Trinity’s postgraduate researchers. Postgraduate researchers chose overwhelmingly in the plebiscite last year to form an independent body – thus providing a direct mandate to college for Capitation of our Union.”

“PWO is currently the only dedicated body representing PGRs at Trinity, and the PWO and its precursors, PCAU and PGWA, have already provided substantial support for Trinity’s postgraduate researchers and representation of their demands at a local and national level.”

It was also requested that the estimated €83,500 remaining of the former GSU’s funding be retained by TCDSU “to accommodate Taught Master’s students in their Union infrastructure”.

Under this proposal, TCDSU would retain its statutory representation of all postgraduate students in College with respect to academic affairs, student services, “and all other aspects directly relating to their student status within College”.

TCD PWO would be given representation of all research postgraduates, including PhDs and Master’s by Research researchers but excluding Taught Master’s Students, as a Capitated Body.

This would cover all aspects of postgraduate researchers’ lives that relate to their research, departmental and College disputes, work conditions, workers’ rights, demonstration and teaching issues, and their transition to full workers’ status.

This comes as postgraduate students voted to establish separate representative bodies in a plebiscite in April, with PhD and master’s students wanting to establish their own respective bodies.

Postgraduate students have been left without their own representative body for a year since the decline of the GSU due to allegations of sexual misconduct by the then-President and a lack of financial transparency. Both College and TCDSU cut ties with the GSU in September 2022.