TRINITY COLLEGE Dublin could face a significant cut in Government funding as a penalty for the non-implementation of a Labour Court ruling that is binding under the Croke Park agreement.
Officials in the Department of Education and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform have signalled the college faces “consequences” because of its hardline stance on the issue.
The Government believes Trinity’s stance represents a breach of the Croke Park agreement on public service pay and conditions.
The college says it cannot afford to implement the ruling at a time when it is facing unprecedented funding pressures. The Irish Federation of University Teachers has expressed dismay at the college’s stance.
The case centres on two lecturers and one library staff member who were taken off the payroll last year.
The Labour Court accepted the federation’s case that the contracts of indefinite duration awarded to the three gave them permanent employment status.
Trinity maintained the duration of the contracts in question was linked to continued research funding. The college said it had “a long-established practice of effecting redundancies where the supporting funding ceases, or where the associated work has been completed”.
The college disputes the contention that it has breached the Croke Park deal, which it says was never designed to “extend protections on tenure of employment, incurring major costs, in areas where none previously existed”.
It is not clear how punitive action might be imposed.
Last year the Higher Education Authority threatened to fine UCD in a dispute about the payment of unauthorised allowances to senior staff – but a mechanism to impose this fine has still to be worked out.