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Minister for Education washing her hands on NUIG Equality issues – Ó Clochartaigh

26 March, 2015


Leagan Gaeilge thios - Irish version follows

Sinn Féin Senator, Trevor Ó Clochartaigh, has expressed disappointment that the Task Force on Equality set up by NUIG has snubbed unions, students’ and workers’ representatives by not consulting, or including them. He says the Minister for Education is washing her hands on the issue and the University’s management have serious questions to answer.

The Galway West Senator raised the issue in the Seanad recently with Minister for Education, Jan O’Sullivan, who said she was satisfied with the way the University’s management is approaching the investigation.

Ó Clochartaigh has expressed his surprise that a Minister whose party has such strong links to unions, could be satisfied that neither SIPTU, the Irish Federation of University Teachers (IFUT), NUIG Students’ Union nor USI are represented on the Taskforce or were consulted about it. It appears that a student member for the taskforce, not representative of the Students’ Union but selected by management, is now being sought as an afterthought.  Ó Clochartaigh has also expressed serious concern that the Minister appeared to support the view that ‘this is not specifically an industrial relations matter.’

He says:

‘It is very difficult for workers and students concerned about equality issues in the university to engage with this taskforce in a meaningful manner, due to the attitude of NUIG’s president and  management team to them up to this point and the lack of engagement with unions on the makeup of the taskforce.

‘This is a taskforce overloaded with managerial and ex-management types and the workers I have spoken to do not feel confident in the ability of the task force to be independent in its work; as a result they are very reticent to engage with this body. There are fears that any report will be a ‘whitewash’ and there are concerns over the terms of reference and timescale envisaged.

‘The unions on the NUIG campus have called for an independent inquiry and I asked the Minister to assess whether she would invoke her powers of visitation, as set out in the 1997 Universities Act, to do her own independent analysis of work practices in NUIG.

‘It is also unacceptable that the President of NUI Galway and the University’s management team have rebuffed efforts by myself and other elected representatives to meet with them and express our concerns about the approach they are taking. That simply isn't good enough, particularly not from a public institution.  NUI Galway is in receipt of substantial amounts of public funding and we are trying to engage with them on behalf of constituents who have expressed reasonable concerns to us. At this stage, it would appear that NUI Galway’s President and management team have serious questions to answer on a growing number of issues.  

‘We are now examining other mechanisms to follow up on these concerns to ensure that workers’ rights and equality issues are taken very seriously and dealt with in an open, effective and transparent manner and we will continue to do so until NUI Galway’s management engage in a meaningful way with workers, students and their representatives.’

An tAire Oideachais ag níochán a cuid lámha ar cheisteanna Cothromaíochta OÉG - Ó Clochartaigh

Tá díomá léirithe ag Seanadóir Shinn Féin, Trevor Ó Clochartaigh, go bhfuil an Tascfhórsa ar Chothromaíocht atá bunaithe ag OÉG tar éis droim láimhe a thabhairt do cheardchumainn, ionadaithe oibrithe agus mic léinn, gan iad a chur san áireamh ná dul i gcomhairle leo. Deir sé go bhfuil an tAire Oideachais ag níochán a cuid lámha ar an ábhar agus go bhfuil ceisteanna dáiríre le freagairt ag bainistíocht na hOllscoile ina leith seo freisin.  

D’ardaigh Seanadóir Ghaillimh Thiar an cheist sa Seanad le déanaí leis an tAire Oideachais, Jan O’Sullivan, a deir go bhfuil sí sásta leis an mbealach atá an bhainistíocht ag déileáil leis an bhfiosrúchán. 

Tá iontas faoi seo léirithe ag Ó Clochartaigh faoi Aire a bhfuil dlúthbhaint ag an páirtí a mbaineann sí leis le ceardchumainn, go bhféadfadh sí a bheith sásta nach bhfuil ionadaíocht ag SIPTU, Cónaidhm na dTeagascóiri Ollscoile (IFUT), Aontas na Mac Léinn OÉG, ná Aontas na Mac Léinn in Éireann ar an Tascfhórsa, ná ní dheachas i gcomhairle leo faoi. Is cosúil go bhfuil mac léinn dhá lorg anois le cur leis an tascfhórsa, ní ionadaí ar son Aontas na Mac Léinn, ach duine roghnaithe mar iar-smaoineamh ag an mbainistíocht. Tá imní dáiríre léirithe ag Ó Clochartaigh freisin, gur cosúil go dtagann an tAire leis an tuairim ‘nach ceist shonrach caidreamh saothar atá anseo’. 

Deir sé:

‘Tá sé an-deacair ar oibrithe agus mic léinn a bhfuil imní orthu faoi cheisteanna cothromaíochta comhoibriú ar bhealach dáiríre, de bharr meon Uachtarán OÉG agus an fhoireann bainistíochta go dtí seo agus an easpa caidreamh le ceardchumainn ar chomhdhéanamh an tascfhórsa. 

‘Is tascfhórsa í seo atá ag cur thar maoil le lucht bainistíochta agus iarbhainisteoirí agus deir oibrithe ar labhair mé leo nach bhfuil siad muiníneach as cumas an tascfhórsa chun a bheith neamhspleách ina gcuid oibre; mar thoradh ar seo tá fíor drogall orthu oibriú leo. Tá faitíos orthu nach mbeidh in aon tuairisc a dhéanfar ach iarracht chun plána mín a chuir air an scéal agus tá amhras orthu maidir leis na téarmaí tagartha agus an amscála atá leagtha amach. 

‘Tá iarrtha ag na ceardchumainn ar champas OÉG go mbeadh fiosrúchán neamhspleách ann agus d’fhiafraigh mise don Aire an mbeadh sí sásta a cuid cumhachtaí cuartaíochta, mar atá leagtha amach in Acht na hOllscoileanna 1997, a úsáid chun a h-anailís féin a dhéanamh ar chleachtais oibre OÉG. 

‘Níl aon ghlacadh agam ach an oiread go bhfuil droim láimhe tugtha ag Uachtarán OÉG agus foireann bainistíochta na hOllscoile dom féin agus ionadaithe tofa eile a bhí ag iarraidh bualadh leo leis an imní atá orainn faoin gcur chuige atá acu a phlé. Níl sé sin sách maith, go h-áirithe ó eagraíocht poiblí. Faigheann OÉ Gaillimh ualach maoinithe ó fhoinsí poiblí agus tá muid ag iarraidh plé a dhéanamh leo ar son toghthóirí atá tar éis ceisteanna réasúnacha a ardú linn.  Ag an bpointe seo, is cosúil go bhfuil ceisteanna tromchúiseacha le freagairt ag Uachtarán agus foireann bhainistíochta OÉG ar roinnt cheisteanna. 

‘Tá muid ag féachaint anois ar shlite eile leis na ceisteanna seo a fhiosrú tuilleadh, chun cinntiú go dtógtar cearta oibre agus ceisteanna cothromaíochta lán dáiríre agus go ndéileáiltear leo ar bhealach oscailte, éifeachtach & trédhearcach agus leanfaidh muid de sin nó go dtiocfaidh bainistíocht OÉG i mbun fíorchaidreamh le h-oibrithe, mic léinn agus a gcuid ionadaithe.’

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