SIPTU vote in favour of strike action

UCD’s branch of SIPTU has voted in favour of industrial strike action in the row over compulsory redundancies.The ballot, which was passed by a margin of 88 per cent to 12 per cent, is in protest against UCD’s proposal to introduce compulsory redundancies for staff in the university.Scheduling of the strike action is yet to be finalised and Senior Lecturer in the UCD School of Sociology and President of SIPTU’s Education division, Dr Kieran Allen, said the timing of such action “depends on management.”Dr Allen stated that the action is a result of “a threat from management to change a statute without consulting us.” UCD have decided to look into the possibility of compulsory redundancies as a cost cutting measure. The Irish Business and Employers Confederation (IBEC), of which UCD is a member, has called for compulsory redundancies in the public sector.Dr Allen, however, maintains that job losses are unnecessary, telling The University Observer, “we don’t accept their argument. They have an argument that there are researchers who are being kept on and there’s no work for them.” He continued that “those researchers have been employed for seven or eight years here, and under the terms of the Fixed Term Workers Act, they are entitled to a contract of definite duration.” He also felt that “because people have won their legal rights, it is [UCD] responding with compulsory redundancies.”In a circular email sent last week to all SIPTU members within UCD and seen by The University Observer, Dr Allen wrote: “It is perfectly clear that a section of management are trying to use the recession and the crisis of funding in the University, which they created, to use ‘shock doctrine’ tactics and change working conditions”, and that he doesn’t believe the redundancies will be confined to researchers.SIPTU representatives have met with University officials in an effort to end the dispute, but Dr Allen stated that, “the ball is now back in management’s court,” and that “we’ve been available to meet management since August, but they haven’t gotten back to us.”The University Observer had not received a response from the University on the matter at the time of going to print.