Academics within UCD are to see their contracts revised resulting in a series of changes to how they operate within the university. Some academics have voiced concerns regarding potentially restrictive working time expectations and have highlighted the potential of the new contracts to lead to a weakening of tenure.
Section 6 of the revised contract reads, remedy “save as necessitated by the efficient exercise of your duties or approved absence, generic you will attend at your place of work during the working week and for the duration of the college year which is of 12 consecutive calendar months duration. It is understood that your place of work will principally be at the university at campus but that it may be varied from time to time to include other locations consistent with the requirements of your work”.
The contract also makes reference to the Organisation of Working Time Act 1997. This may essentially require academics to be present on campus from 9am to 5:30pm both term-time and vacation-time alike, a move that some feel will have implications on their ability to conduct adequate research.
A spokesperson for UCD stated that, “The revision of the academic contract was provided for under the Public Service (Croke Park) Agreement and is one of the terms of compliance for the third-level sector…The revised contract was negotiated centrally by the Department of Education and Skills (DES) and was balloted on and accepted by IFUT as part of their entry into the Public Service (Croke Park) Agreement”.
Regarding concerns raised by SIPTU in UCD, they stated, “SIPTU in UCD has indicated that it does not accept the terms of the new academic contract. UCD’s position is that the new academic contract has now been accepted as part of the Public Service (Croke Park) Agreement and any challenge to this will have to be determined by the dispute resolution mechanisms of the Public Service (Croke Park) Agreement”.
– James Grannell