Following major backlash from postgraduate students, Trinity’s Finance Committee has confirmed the restoration of pay rates for casual staff to their previous levels.
Last month, The University Times reported that Trinity’s casual workers – including many TAs and postgraduate students – were facing pay cuts of almost 20 per cent for their teaching duties.
Today, Shaz Oye – the president of the Graduate Students’ Union (GSU), and a member of Finance Committee – announced in an email to postgraduate students that Finance Committee had fully scrapped any pay cuts, after it temporarily restored the old rates pending today’s discussion.
In the email, seen by The University Times, Oye wrote that she wished to “commend the Finance Committee for today’s decision which I believe is fair, equitable and signals a deepening commitment to student partnership, and recognition of postgraduate students as stakeholders in the university”.
Oye thanked Katarzyna Siewierska, the GSU’s physics representative, for “bringing this issue to our attention”.
“Finally”, Oye wrote, “I would further like to thank you, the postgraduate community, for your support and patience while I have endeavoured to bring this issue to a satisfactory conclusion”.
Oye courted controversy after she admitted she initially failed to flag the proposed pay cuts at a Finance Committee meeting. The decision to introduce the cuts sparked outrage across the postgraduate community in Trinity.
Chaos ensued in the GSU as Oye hit out at her vice-president, Gisèle Scanlon, after a public standoff between the pair at a meeting of postgraduates.
Major cracks appeared in the relationship between the two leaders – who were elected on a ticket to the two paid sabbatical positions in the GSU – with each airing public grievances about the other.
At the meeting, Scanlon cut across Oye as she discussed with postgraduates the hourly rate earned by PhD students on their stipends. When Oye struggled to name a figure, Scanlon asked: “Why don’t you know this?”, and added that “it’s extremely important for you to know that stuff”.
In an interview with The University Times later that week, Oye expressed frustration at what she called Scanlon’s “spurious accusation”.