Posts Tagged ‘Irish Federation of University Teachers’

A historian’s view of Tuesday’s public sector strike

23 November 2009

Contributed by Brian Hanley

This Tuesday, 24 November, will see a nationwide public sector strike in protest at the government’s plans to implement cutbacks as part of their strategy of dealing with the economic crisis. The strike will see also historians joining picket lines at universities and colleges. For Irish Academics to take industrial action is rare (Marie Coleman’s history of the Irish Federation of University Teachers (IFUT) tells the very interesting story of their first strike at Maynooth during 1977) and the fact that they are doing so now has caused some adverse comment. Aside from those who agree with the government’s strategy and therefore see no reason to protest against it, there are others, and I’ve had plenty of discussions on these lines myself, who believe academics are too highly paid anyway, work very short hours and have no real reason to object to cuts. Opinion among students is also divided, with the Students Union at Maynooth reportedly advising their members to pass pickets and attend college. Without a doubt there are those in academia and in university management who have been very well rewarded and are highly paid by any standards. Historians are also lucky enough to work at something we enjoy, and be able to research and write about things that interest us. But, as readers of this blog will probably know, high wages and secure contracts are far from the universal picture, particularly for younger academics, who face short term contracts and long periods of part-time work or unemployment with little prospect of a permanent contract. Read More