Originally published in Volume III, Issue 2 on 21st October 1996 by Aoife Sheridan.
October 3rd, 1996 saw the successful end of an exhaustive 3 year campaign by SIPTU on behalf of UCD’s post-grad tutors. SIPTU representatives have been working through Scope, the PRSI watchdog, to reclassify tutors from PRSI Class M to Class A.
Under Class M tutors had nil insurance liability – meaning they had no entitlements to dental, optical, maternity or unemployment benefits. The reclassification ensures the availability of full social welfare benefits for the postgraduate tutors.
Sources within SIPTU cite “saving money”, as the college’s primary motives for the misrepresentation of tutors’ PRSI status. Unfortunately the Dean of Postgraduate Studies, Professor Brian McKenna, was unavailable to comment on the situation at the time of going to press. However, after 2 appeals against the reclassification by the college through the Social Welfare Appeals Mechanism, and much to the surprise and pleasure of SIPTU, victory has been secured with the college’s concession of the tutors’ PRSI status.
SIPTU is now preparing to enter negotiations with the college on a number of related issues. Firstly, retrospection, the full credit of back pay and benefits for tutors for the last year and while hoops are entertained for full reimbursement for the past five years, sources within SIPTU remain doubtful of its probability. Secondly, they seek a pay increase under the PCW, from which tutors are at present excluded. They are also looking for written statements of the conditions of employment for tutors, which the college has thus far refused to extend. Finally, they hope to gain an amendment to the date by which tutor claims are required to be received, tutors, are the only category of employees of UCD who have a 2 month wait to receive their pay at the beginning of the college term.