PhD Researchers at the University of Galway present petition over pay

PhD researchers have presented the heads at the University of Galway with a petition on pay, signed by more than 300 staff and students.

The petition demands the immediate reversal of the Graduate Teaching Policy enacted by the University’s management team at the start of this year. 

This policy altered the terms and conditions surrounding teaching in the college, which included a pay reduction for PhD workers. It also removed previous claimable activities such as exam correction and marking assignments which many PhD workers relied on. 

The Postgraduate Workers Alliance

“The new policy raises serious concerns for our community and comes amidst a growing cost of living and housing crisis, which rapidly deteriorate(s) our ability to have a living wage.

“Schools within the university have interpreted the policy differently, creating further confusion and pay disparity among PhDs,” said a representative from The Postgraduate Workers Alliance (PGWA)

The PGWA outlined what the petition is calling on the university for:

“Firstly, we want to see the immediate reversal of this decision to reduce teaching pay.

“Secondly, we want the university to recognise us as formal employees, guaranteeing us maternity leave, sick leave, and holiday pay.

“Thirdly, we want to see the university make a sincere effort to ensure PhD workers are paid a living wage of €28,000 per annum,” a statement from the group read. 

Postgraduate representation at University of Galway

Criodán Ó Murchú, the Postgraduate Representative at the University of Galway agreed with the concerns raised by the group.

“For too long, the university has seen PhDs as a scapegoat to complete unpaid and time-consuming work. PhDs are the backbone of research and technological development in universities and deserve to be recognised as such,” he said.

“Recently, the university scrapped the 120 hours of unpaid tutoring for PhD candidates.

“However, they have simultaneously cut PhD pay down to tutoring rates, regardless of preparation time and if it is lecture substitution. These unjust practices must come to an end,” he continued. 

Governmental action

The petition comes as Minister for Further and Higher Education announced a national review of support for PhD researchers. 

PhD stipends also received a once off €500 bonus in this year’s budget. 

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