Fórsa has suspended industrial action taking place in institutes of technology and Mary Immaculate College in Limerick (MIC), as work is to commence on introducing a new job evaluation scheme, following talks at the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) last week.
The action commenced in mid-October, with the aim of securing a comprehensive job evaluation exercise.
Talks at the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) last week produced an agreement between the union and the Department of Education and Skills which makes provision for the commencement of a job evaluation scheme for library, clerical and administrative and support staff roles in the higher education sector.
Fórsa members had backed industrial action by a margin of 85% in July. The industrial action took the form of members refusing to engage in any form of communication including making and taking phone calls, video conferencing, or responding to or forwarding emails.
Fórsa official Andy Pike said the talks at the WRC had been constructive, and brought to an end a three year delay on job evaluation, despite a commitment agreed in May 2015, as part of the negotiations that lead to the Lansdowne Road Agreement.
“Our members have been waiting three years for this outcome. They showed their strong resolve by taking action. We’re satisfied that the measures agreed here today give our members a clear path to a comprehensive job evaluation scheme, and for that reason we are satisfied that it’s now appropriate to suspend the industrial action,” he said.
Andy explained that the purpose of job evaluation is to measure whether or not a specific post is correctly graded. “It assesses the skills and responsibilities required of a particular post, rather than the individual performing it.
“Since 2008 the higher education sector has seen a very large increase in the number of students enrolled while staff numbers fell. There has been a corresponding increase in total productivity as library, professional and support staff took on the challenge of delivering services in these circumstances.
“The sector relied for a long time on the goodwill and dedication of its staff with many individuals assuming additional and more onerous duties. This situation was exacerbated by the failure to fill higher grade posts over the past number of years. In some cases posts were filled by agency staff on a temporary basis,” he said.