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The Quad at UCC, Cork. Picture: Denis Minihane.
The Quad at UCC, Cork. Picture: Denis Minihane.
SOCIAL BOOKMARKS

UCC tight-lipped on short-term employee details

UNIVERSITY College Cork has remained tight-lipped on the number of employees it has on short-term contracts.

In August this year, The Echo reported that UCC and other institutes had been accused of abusing short-term contracts to ensure staff is paid only for the hours they work at the college.

The use of short or fixed-term contracts can see staff members paid for several hours a week, placed on contracts that are less than a year-long and receive no holiday, sick or preparatory pay. Such contracts for lecturers are making it impossible to get mortgages, plan ahead and sometimes even make the minimum wage, according to some in the field.

The Echo requested both CIT and UCC to disclose how many lecturers are on such contracts in their institutions.

CIT revealed that 100 lecturers are on such contracts. UCC however, said the record requested is not held in a “format that can be readily accessed” and denied the Freedom of Information request.

Calls have been made for the university to publish its figures.

The Echo appealed the FOI decision shortly after receiving it but is still yet to receive an updated decision from the university.

An email on October 25 seeking information on the appeal went unanswered, as did follow-up emails.

On Wednesday, November 20, UCC said it expected to have the appeal back by the end of that week.

No information arrived.

Mark Cullinane, a postdoctoral researcher in the School of Applied Social Studies at UCC, said there are major issues at the university with lecturers being left on unstable short term contracts for years, even decades.

“Even without the official figures, we know that a great deal of teaching in UCC, like other Irish third-level institutions, is undertaken by those on casual and insecure contracts, including hourly paid work,” he said.

“The university needs to not only fully disclose the prevalence of casualised work in UCC but to justify it because there are serious harms involved for those who work under such conditions and for our students too.”