The two extra hours agreed by the unions were reduced to one in subsequent talks, but Martin Marjoram, a member of the TUI executive committee, says the reality is that the “flex” hour imposes several more working hours on lecturers.
“Flex hours are additional lecturing hours that were, to our mind, imposed on TUI members who are lecturers in institutes of technology at the time of the Croke Park Agreement,” said Mr Marjoram, a lecturer in the Institute of Technology Tallaght.
“While TUI did sign up to that agreement, it must be remembered it was in the context of having very significant threats levelled at us in terms of the imposition of redundancies on some of our members if we didn’t accept the imposition of additional hours,” he said.
Speaking as the TUI’s Annual Conference came to a close in Cork yesterday, Mr Marjoram said that an extra lecturing hour means three hours more work for lecturers.
“While on paper it says two additional hours per week, because of all the preparation, all the administration, the assessment of students and so forth, what very often that would mean is an additional six hours of work,” he said.
Mr Marjoram said that this difference means that some lecturers were taking on an extra course on top of their usual workload.
“For many of us that upped it from four courses a week to five courses, a 25% increase in workload,” he said.
This, in turn, led to a reduction in staff, he said.
The TUI this week indicated that it would consider industrial action unless the extra flex hour is removed by the Government.