TUI conference told contracts of 30 minutes duration on offer

Union estimates 50% of teachers aged below 35 on part-time or temporary arrangement

Conference heard that in 2014 eighteen lecturing hours in Tralee Institute of Technology (above) were divided into 17 contracts among 10 staff members

Conference heard that in 2014 eighteen lecturing hours in Tralee Institute of Technology (above) were divided into 17 contracts among 10 staff members

 

Young teachers in some institutes of technology have received contracts offering them only half hour work per week, the TUI conference has been told.

Delegates also heard that teachers in second level schools were on contracts providing for low hours spread across several days in a manner which meant securing additional employment elsewhere was impossible.

The TUI estimated that 30 per cent or more of teachers were on temporary or part-time contracts with that figure rising to 50 per cent among those aged under 35.

Anne Marie Courtney from Kerry said that in 2007/2008 a 16-hour lecturer contract became available to staff at the Institute of Technology in Tralee following the secondment of another member of staff to a another position.

She said this contract was then converted into two separate contracts of nine hours each.

However she said that in 2014 the 18 hours were then divided into 17 contracts among 10 staff members.

“One staff member was lucky to get two contracts of half an hour each.”

“The luckiest person in the bunch got a six-hour contract. Another person got a 2¼-hour contract. A lot of the contracts were for one hour. I don’t think the public is aware of what is going on in our sector.”

‘Demeaned by casualisation’

Ms Courtney said teachers and lecturers were “demeaned by casualisation”.

She said she earnestly asked the TUI executive to do everything possible to address the plight of part-time workers and those on low-hour contracts

TUI vice-president Joanne Irwin told the conference that she had recently met a young teacher who was “trying to survive on a contract for six hours per week”.

“The six hours, incidentally and deplorably, were timetabled over five days. This young member was unable to move out of home and closer to her place of work. She could not afford a car to get to work and so was dependent on public transport, thus requiring her to be in the school building, whether work was available or not – and obviously it is her constant hope that some paid substitution would become available.

“Her dreadful story deeply affected me because I once stood in her shoes. I know exactly how she feels because I started off on three hours per week. I know what employment and financial insecurity means. I know all about the dread of not knowing if I had a job after the summer, the frustration of not being able to plan and not being able to make commitments.

“For me this was 11 years ago and it is somewhat concerning that the situation has not improved greatly although many of our members now achieve permanency sooner but with less than full hours.”

The TUI conference also passed a motion calling for the annual publication of a list of employers that failed to augment the hours of existing teachers or lecturuers before advertising vacancies.