Siptu Conference: University slated for lack of action on ‘discrimination’

Siptu has condemned a lack of action by management at NUI Galway to address what it describes as problems related to discrimination and precarious working conditions at the university.

Delegates at the union’s biennial conference in Cork unanimously backed an emergency motion supporting a local branch campaign against discrimination and calling on management at the university to attend conciliation talks with unions at the Workplace Relations Commission.

In recent years, the university was embroiled in controversy over gender equality among academic staff after the Equality Tribunal found in favour of lecturer Dr Micheline Sheehy Skeffington.

She took a discrimination case against the university after being turned down for promotion in 2009. The university then faced criticism from unions that staff were not asked to nominate representatives to take place in an independent taskforce set up to recommend how gender equality in staffing could be addressed.

Siptu education sector organiser Louise O’Reilly said: “Staff and students at NUI Galway face discrimination on a daily basis.

“Siptu has now sent a strong message to NUI Galway management that this is completely unacceptable, that targeting shop stewards and ignoring the unions representing staff will not be tolerated at a publicly funded institution.”

Meanwhile, Siptu has demanded a review of the protections in place to stop workers in the health sector from being exposed to violence and aggression in the workplace.

At the conference, delegates unanimously supported a motion calling for the evaluation.

Siptu health division organiser Paul Bell said: “This review must consider if the necessary deterrents, protections, and support for staff are in place and suitable to meet their needs.”

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