There is power in a union


SIPTU estimates that almost a third of workers in UCD are ‘fixed term workers’. The university also made a number of them redundant over the summer, including one who had been working for the college since 1981.All of this is part of a trend in universities (and in other workplaces) to replace permanent staff with contract workers. For example, two years ago there were 21 permanent staff in the exams office but today there are only 11. Instead, approximately 30 temporary / fixed contract staff have been used – in some cases on three-month contracts. The insecurity of contract workers makes it much more difficult for them to defend their working conditions and pay.

It was no surprise when over 80% voted for strike action. When management seemingly backed down SIPTU agreed to suspend the strike action – though we reserved the right to strike again if they renege on the agreement.

This was a huge victory for the most insecure workers in the university, and showed how a union can and should fight for its members’ interests.

This article is from Workers Solidarity 94 Nov/Dec 2006

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