THE IRISH Federation of University Teachers (IFUT) will recommend its members back a new pay deal, having determined it to be the only “realistic” resolution to recent pay discussions. The recommendation was formulated on Saturday, 4th October when a meeting of the executive branch of IFUT and a meeting of the IFUT council voted in favour of promoting the deal to its members.
If ratified by IFUT members, the federation will vote in favour of the deal at the Irish Congress of Trade Unions’ special delegate conference on the 17th of November. IFUT General Secretary, Mike Jennings said that despite the deal’s shortcomings, he is confident that federation members will follow the recommendations of their IFUT representatives and approve the deal.
“It was bitter pill for us to swallow. If voted on, the deal will make an eleven-month pay pause. Under the last deal our members were meant to be benefitting from a pay increase starting from the 1st September, which wasn’t fulfilled. It will be a further twelve months before we get another pay increase,” Mr Jennings explained.
However, the General Secretary added that IFUT felt that the country’s current economic circumstance predetermined their decision. “We took the view that under the current economic climate, it wasn’t realistic to pursue a pay increase at this time. There was no point putting university staff, students and the whole system under that anxiety. Unfortunately we have to accept that this is the best we are going to get at this time.”
In justifying the recommendation to accept the deal, Jennings emphasised that a clause of the agreement provides a mechanism for the IFUT to lodge the university teachers’ productivity claim in just under two years. Although Mr Jennings declined to suggest a figure by which he hopes pay would increase, he commented that he was hopeful that the university workers’ efforts would be rewarded when the economic status of the country improves.
“Considering all the extra work [university teachers] do, we must show that we are working harder and delivering greater productivity than ever before. I think we will be able to make a strong case for a significant increase when the time comes.”
The recommended pay deal will last for 21 months, granting university teachers a pay increase of six per cent in this period. 3.5 per cent of this pay increase will be payable from 1st September 2009, with the following increase scheduled for March 2010.