THE IRISH Federation of University Teachers (IFUT) have threatened to take the university to the High Court if a decision is taken to ignore a Labour Court recommendation to promote Senior Lecturer of Philosopy, Dr Ger Casey to the role of Associate Professor. The Labour Court ruled that UCD was wrong in failing to promote Dr Casey on 8th December 2008, however the university has yet to signal its acceptance or rejection of the recommendation.
General Secretary of IFUT, Mike Jennings told The University Observer that while he had expected to recieve an official acceptance of the recommendation from the university before now, he is confident that Dr Casey will be promoted due to the “unequivocal and straight forward recommendation from the primary industrial relations body of this country”.
Criticising the university’s delay in promoting Dr Casey, Mr Jennings stated that, “if the university refuses to accept its obligations, there is no way in the wide world that IFUT will let them get away with that”. Echoing this sentiment, Dr Casey explained that the university must now either accept or reject the recommedation, adding that “If they reject then we’re off to the High Court”.
While both men believe that the university will accept the recommendation and promote Dr Casey to the rank of Associate Professor, Dr Casey argued that if they chose not to, the implications for UCD will be “staggering. It would effectively be a rejection of the entire industrial relations machinery by a body that is in receipt of public funding”.
Having originally applied for promotion in July 2006, Dr Casey has twice won his appeals against the decision not to promote him. The university’s appeals committee ruled in his favour, stating that it was unreasonable to conclude that he did not satisfy the requirements for promotion on the grounds of research and scholarship. However, the University Committee on Academic Appointments Tenure and Promotion (UCAATP) subsequently rejected this assertion, despite the fact that appeals committe decisions are binding under university rules.
Dr Casey’s success with the Labour Court recommendation will, according to Mr Jennings, serve to strengthen the cases of a number of academic staff who feel that they have been treated unfairly when considered for promotions. Describing himself as having acted as a “magnet”, Dr Casey stated that a significant number of people have approached him feeling that they were “bizarrely treated” in their applications for promotion.
When questioned on the university’s delay in responding to the Labour Court’s recommendation, a university spokesperson stated that UCD would not comment on the individual status of employees.