Workers picket Tyndall Institute over pay inequality

Unions say staff being paid less money to do same work as colleagues in UCC

Mike Jennings, general secretary of the Irish Federation of University Teachers, accused the Department of Education of failing to resolve the issue of pay disparity between staff at UCC and the tyndall Institute. Photographer: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times.

Mike Jennings, general secretary of the Irish Federation of University Teachers, accused the Department of Education of failing to resolve the issue of pay disparity between staff at UCC and the tyndall Institute. Photographer: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times.

Wed, Feb 19, 2014, 10:02

Members of two trade unions have today placed pickets at the Tyndall National Institute in Cork in a dispute over pay inequality with colleagues they say are doing similar work at University College Cork but are being paid more.

The picket by members of Siptu and the Irish Federation of University Teachers is the latest development in an ongoing dispute over pay inequality at the Tyndall, which is one of Europe’s leading research centres for Information and Communications Technology.

About 200 staff at the Tyndall are involved in the protest which is due to escalate next week when Siptu will place pickets on all entrances to the Tyndall Institute and UCC where it has around 800 members.

Siptu organiser Bill Mulcahy, said members would “be intensifying their industrial action at the facility including the expansion of work to rule measures and further work stoppages”.

The dispute concerns the pay inequity which exists between a large number of Tyndall employees and their counterparts doing the same or similar work on UCC main campus. The difference in pay is of the order of 10 per cent to 20 per cent, said Mr Mulcahy.

IFUT general secretary Mike Jennings accused the Department of Education of failing to resolve the issue and confirmed that the union had similarly served strike notice for Wednesday 26th February when pickets will also be placed on UCC.

“Researchers are being severely undermined by an ongoing refusal of the Dept of Education to resolve glaring anomalies that result in staff in the Institute earning up to one-third less than they would if employed in other UCC departments,” he said.

Mr Jennings said that among the key issues facing staff at the Tyndall was the fact that research staff in senior supervisory roles at the institute were being paid less in wages than junior doctorate staff on temporary contracts.

“We regret the need to take this action. However in the absence of any meaningful engagement and progress on the resolution of the pay inequity, we are left with no other option,” said Mr Jennings.

In a statement, UCC acknowledged there should be no disparity of treatment between staff in Tyndall and staff within the university but said a resolution must be in line with current legislation governing public pay policy and the provisions of the Haddington Road agreement.