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Academics and Unions highlight urgent need for independent NUIG equality review – Ó Clochartaigh

17 June, 2015


Leagan Gaeilge Thíos - Irish Version Follows

Representatives of workers from SIPTU at NUIG outlined the need for a fully independent inquiry into equality issues in the college when they addressed Oireachtas members in Leinster House yesterday. NUIG staff were accompanied by SIPTU officials who offered their full support to the campaign of staff at NUIG against discrimination.

Sinn Féin Galway West – South Mayo Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh, who hosted the group, says,

‘The NUIG staff made a compelling case for a fully independent review of equality issues in the college. They restated their call that management engage with unions to set up an independent mechanism to review equality concerns which have been highlighted by academic, technical, general operative and administrative staff and students. I also believe that the Minister for Education and Skills should meet with the representatives and hear their concerns first hand, as they have requested.

‘They outlined a long series of legal challenges, management practices, experiences of and evidence from women which they believe show that taxpayers money is being spent in a ‘discriminatory fashion’. They believe that the management team is responsible for the reputational damage done to the university over the last number of years because of their failings in relation to equality.

‘They told TD’s and Senators that every college Dean in the University is male and that one of the university’s few female Professors is reported to have left employment at NUIG recently due to alleged ‘harassment and bullying’ in the workplace.  They also noted that she was a member of the university's gender equality task force.

‘One union representative stated that he believes there is a “culture of bullying and favouritism from the top down in NUIG” and that NUIG management are also waging a campaign to “de-recognise the unions”.

‘The statistics that SIPTU representatives presented very strongly supported their assertions that women are far less likely to be promoted, or to hold senior positions across all grades of work in NUIG. SIPTU maintains that the college has used considerable resources to fight legal battles against individuals, particularly women, who challenge the system. A SIPTU official wondered how much money NUIG has spent ‘fighting their own staff’.

‘They have no faith whatsoever in the task force that the college has set up to look at this issue, whose composition or terms of reference have not been discussed or agreed with them, which is among the reasons why they have directed union members not to engage with it. These concerns have been heightened in light of the news that a woman professor on the task force has left the university in seemingly controversial circumstances as well as public condemnation from an esteemed expert who was invited to advise it.

‘They maintain also, that equality issues and unfair treatment are exacerbated among workers who are in precarious and part time employment, on contracts of indefinite duration, or employed in outsourced positions. Women representing the group 'Third Level Workplace Watch' also spoke to this issue. It was made clear by all that women make up the majority of those who are most disadvantaged in these types of low-waged jobs at NUIG and more widely.

‘I am calling on the management of NUIG to sit down and work with staff and worker representatives to resolve these issues. I believe an independent review is absolutely necessary and that the details of this should be agreed with the unions and student representatives as a matter of urgency. If this doesn’t happen, I believe that due to the serious nature of the allegations being made, that the Minister should consider using her powers under the Universities Act to instigate such an investigation.’

Léiríonn Acadóirí agus Ceardchumainn an géarghá le athbhreithniú ionannais neamhspleách in OÉG - Ó Clochartaigh

Léirigh ionadaithe oibrithe ó SIPTU in Ollscoil na hÉireann Gaillimh an gá atá ann le fiosrúchán iomlán neamhspleácha ghairm maidir le ceisteanna comhionannais sa gcoláiste nuair a labhair siad le baill Oireachtais i dTeach Laighean inné. Bhí oifigigh de chuid SIPTU, a thugann a dtacaíocht iomlán den fheachtas atá ar bun ag oibrithe OÉG i gcoinne leithcheal, i dteannta le baill foirne na h-ollscoile. 

Deir ionadaí Shinn Féin Ghaillimh Thiar – Maigh Eo Theas, an Seanadóir Trevor Ó Clochartaigh, a thug an cuireadh don ghrúpa:

‘Tá cás an-láidir dhá chur chun cinn ag baill foirne OÉG maidir le fiosrúchán iomlán neamhspleách ar cheisteanna cothromaíochta sa gcoláiste. D’iarr siad arís eile go dtiocfadh an bhainistíocht i mbun comhráití leis na ceardchumainn chun meicníocht neamhspleách a chur in áit leis an imní ó thaobh cothromaíochta de atá ardaithe ag lucht acadúil, teicniúil, oibríochtaí ginearálta, riaracháin agus mic léinn, a fhiosrú i gceart. Creidim féin freisin gur chóir don Aire Oideachas & Scileanna bualadh leis na h-oibrithe leis an imní atá siad ag léiriú a chloisteáil di féin, mar atá iarrtha acu uirthi. 

‘Léirigh siad sraith fhada de dhúshláin dlíthiúla, cleachtais bainistíochta, taithí agus fianaise ó mhná a chreideann siad a léiríonn go bhfuil airgead cáiníocóra dhá chaitheamh ar ‘bhealach leithcheallach’. Creideann siad go bhfuil an fhoireann bainistíochta freagrach as an dochar atá déanta do cháil na h-ollscoile le blianta beaga anuas, mar gheall ar a bhfaillí maidir le cúrsaí cothromaíochta. 

‘Dúirt siad le Teachtaí Dála agus Seanadóirí gur fir iad na Déin ar fad san Ollscoil agus go bhfuiltear ag tuairisciú go bhfuil duine de na fíorbheagán Ollúna ban atá inti tar éis a cuid fostaíochta a fhágáil mar go maíonn sí go raibh ‘ciapadh agus bulaíocht’ ar siúl sa láthair oibre. Nótáil siad freisin go raibh an bhean seo ina ball den Tascfhórsa cothromaíochta.  

‘Deir ionadaí ceardchumainn amháin go gcreideann sé go bhfuil “cultúr bulaíochta agus fabhar ón mbarr anuas in OÉG” agus go bhfuil bainistíocht OÉG “ag iarraidh aitheantas a bhaint de na ceardchumainn”. 

‘Tacaíonn na staitisticí a chuir ionadaithe SIPTU ós ár gcomhair an cás atá siad ag cur chun cinn, gur lú go mór an seans atá ag mná arduithe céime a fháil, nó a bheith i rólanna sinsearacha trasna na grádanna éagsúla oibre in OÉG. Maíonn SIPTU go bhfuil acmhainní suntasacha úsáidte ag an gcoláiste le dúshlán dlíthiúla a thabhairt in aghaidh daoine aonair, go h-áirithe mná, a cheistíonn an chóras. Chuir oifigeach amháin de chuid SIPTU an cheist ‘cé mhéad airgead atá caite ag OÉG ag troid i gcoinne a cuid fostaithe féin?’  

‘Níl muinín dá laghad acu ins an Tascfhórsa atá bunaithe ag an gcoláiste chun féachaint ar na deacrachtaí seo, nuair nár pléadh ná níor aontaíodh a comhdhéanamh ná téarmaí tagartha leo - agus gur ar an mbunús sin gur thug siad treoir dá mbaill gan comhoibriú leo.  Tá an t- ábhar buartha méadaithe i bhfianaise an scéala go bhfuil ollamh ban, a bhí mar bhall den tascfhórsa, i ndiaidh an ollscoil a fhágáil ar chúiseanna conspóideacha go leor agus tá saineolaí aitheanta eile, ar tugadh cuireadh di comhairle a chur orthu, tar éis cáineadh láidir a dhéanamh ar an Tascfhórsa chomh maith. 

‘Maíonn siad freisin, gur measa go mór fada an leatrom chothromaíochta imeasc oibrithe i bhfostaíocht leochaileach agus ar chonarthaí páirtaimseartha, ar chonraí do théamaí socraithe, nó atá fostaithe ag áisíneachtaí ar son na h-ollscoile. Labhair mná a bhí i láthair ar son an ghrúpa 'Third Level Workplace Watch' faoi seo chomh maith. Rinne gach duine a labhair soiléir é gur mná den chuid is mó atá faoi mhíbhuntáiste sna postanna íseal-ioncam seo in OÉG agus san earnáil thré chéile. 

‘Tá mé ag impí arís ar bhainistíocht OÉG suí síos agus plé a dhéanamh leis an bhfoireann agus ionadaithe na n-oibrithe chun na ceisteanna seo a réiteach. Creidim féin go gcaithfear iniúchadh neamhspleách a dhéanamh agus gur cheart na mionsonraí faoi seo a aontú le h-ionadaithe ceardchumainn agus micléinn, mar ábhar phráinne. Muna dtarlaíonn seo, creidim, i bhfianaise chomh tromchúiseach is atá na líomhaintí atá dhá dhéanamh, gur chóir don Aire machnamh arís ar a cuid cumhachtaí faoi Acht na hOllscoileanna a úsáid lena leithéid d’fhiosrú a dhéanamh.’

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