IFUT membership information
The Irish Federation of University Teachers (IFUT) represents a range of university employees including researchers. It is recognised by the Government and the Higher Education Authority. For more information visit the IFUT website by clicking here.
In recent times IFUT has taken a large number of important cases to the Rights Commissioners and to the Labour Court on behalf of researchers. These cases have dealt with issue of quantum of redundancy payments and entitlement to Contracts of Indefinite Duration (CID). Some details of recent cases can be found here. IFUT cases (72kB)
IFUT are now allocating a significant proportion of their resources to protecting the rights of fixed-term contract employees. Unfortunately, this group of employees constitutes ~10% of the total IFUT membership. It is imperative that this number increases to ensure that the main focus for IFUT now, and in the coming months and years, is to reverse the calamitous decisions taken by UCC higher administration.
Attached please find an IFUT flyer outlining pertinent employment rights and the benefits of IFUT membership to Researchers. ARCS does not have the finances or background to fight individual cases. However through membership of IFUT there is comfort in the knowledge that your individual rights will be fought for should you find yourself facing redundancy in the future. IFUT cannot help you if you are not a member.
NOTE: Most trade unions will refuse to deal with issues that have arisen before the application is made to join that trade union. For that reason ARCS recommends that Researchers join IFUT at the earliest possible oppourtunity. Do not wait for problems to arise.
IFUT flyer (203kB)
Do I qualify for redundancy?
Basic information regarding employment rights and entitlements is available from Citizens Information.
To qualify for redundancy a number of conditions must be met. It may be of interest to Researchers to know that even if they have a gap between contracts with the same employer, they may still be entitled to redundancy under reckonable service. More information on this topic can found here.
If you do qualify for redundancy there are specific redundancy procedures which employers and employees must follow in order to comply with the legislation.
Do I qualify for a Contract of Indefinite Duration (CID)?
Discussion of CIDs has been to the forefront since the introduction of the Protection of Employees (Fixed Term Work) Act, 2003. If you enter a fixed-term contract of employment on or after 14 July 2003 and are employed on two or more such contracts for four continuous years and if the contract is renewed again after that, then the contract is deemed to be one of indefinite duration. This applies unless the employer has objective grounds for renewing the contract again on a fixed-term basis.
The Unfair Dismissal Acts 1977-2001 contain a provision that aims to ensure that successive temporary contracts are not used to avoid that legislation. Where a fixed-term or specified-purpose contract expires and the individual is re-employed within three months, the employee may be considered in some cases to have continuous service.
Therefore, even where an employer excludes the unfair dismissals legislation in the manner described above, a Rights Commissioner or the Employment Appeals Tribunal will consider whether the use of such contracts was wholly or partly to avoid the employee having the protection of the unfair dismissals legislation. If it is considered that this was the case and the contracts were not separated by more than three months and the job was at least similar, then the case can be dealt with as if there was continuous employment and the employer will be required to justify the dismissal in the normal manner.
The is some confusion in the area of whether the CID contract is the same as a permanent contract. In the case of a Researcher, if the work or funding comes to an end, does the University still have the right the terminate the CID? A recent pertinent case has been taken and won by IFUT against TCD whereby a Researcher with a CID was made redundant on the grounds that the funding for the project had ceased among other arguments. The court found in favour of the claimant and ordered their reinstatement in the College.