May 17, 2018

Trinity and Trade Unions Clash Over Earlier Term Date

SIPTU has accused Trinity of failing to engage with staff over the Trinity Education Project.

Dominic McGrathEditor
Sinéad Baker for The University Times

Trinity has been accused of treating staff with “disdain” by SIPTU, amid a row between College and three trade unions over the earlier start to term in September.

The Trinity branch of SIPTU is set to vote on a motion, a draft of which was obtained by The University Times, that accuses College of failing to engage with staff concerns about the Trinity Education Project, notably the earlier start to term in September as part of the overhaul of the academic year structure.

The main concerns outlined by the union relate to the fact that many staff in Trinity will be forced to return to work earlier. The motion also criticises “diktats” from the heads of Trinity’s departments, as staff are asked to adapt to “changed work processes, calendar changes and timetabling of opening hours” that come with the earlier start to term.


The motion states that Trinity has failed to properly engage with trade unions on the issue. In an email statement to The University Times, the President of SIPTU’s Education Sector, Jack McGinley, said: “It is fair to say that the Executive Officer Group have treated staff with disdain.”

With just over three months until the new academic year structure is introduced, McGinley said Trinity is running out of time to reach an agreement with staff: “An early gesture by a management team making such a transition would have been seen by staff as a reason to go the extra mile to make sure this transition was completed on time and with the co-operation of nearly all.”

“It is obvious that not a whit has been learned by some in terms of the student fee mishandling debacle”, he added.

The union’s members will vote on the motion on June 11th, with a date already set in late June for a meeting at the Workplace Relations Commission in relation to staff concerns. The two other Trinity trade unions, Unite and the Irish Federation of University Teachers (IFUT), are also part of the meeting with the commission.

This isn’t the first time the Trinity Education Project has triggered unease among Trinity’s trade unions. Earlier this month, IFUT called proposals for exam sittings beyond 5pm and on Sundays “unacceptable”. This year, as part of the introduction of Christmas exams, Freshers’ Week will start on September 3rd.

The union, the motion states, is “seeking that an urgent conciliation conference be convened to try and get a resolution to this issue”, but warns that the union will “commit to an early engagement with the membership to have this matter settled to the member’s satisfaction by using its industrial muscle to the fullest”, if progress hasn’t been made by June 11th.

Sign Up to Our Weekly Newsletters

Get The University Times into your inbox twice a week.