The union of adjunct doctoral teaching and research staff (Dede) at the University of Cyprus has taken its demands for better working conditions to the European Parliament, it was announced on Tuesday.
Ensuring decent working conditions for young scientists is a guarantee to improve and broaden the research and teaching framework and to halt the flight of qualified Cypriot scientists abroad, the association argues.
The issue will be discussed in the EU Parliament’s Committee on Employment and social affairs on February 22,
At the same time, the staff’s union is waiting for a reply to a question which was formally filed with the EU Commission by MEP Neoklis Sylikiotis on September 30 last year.
In their communique, the staff described the problems they face, saying that there is an increased need for teaching personnel at universities, and the teaching workload is increasingly falling on the shoulders of doctoral and post-doctoral scientists.
They claim despite the workload, Dede employment rights are not recognised in Cyprus.
They are asking for full access to their social rights and social insurance, including maternity leave, health insurance, and employer contributions to social insurance funds. The association is also fighting to lift the restriction on the re-employment of Dede members who have exceeded 30 months of teaching over a period of 5 years.
“What actions does it intend to take to safeguard the rights of Dede members and to address and regulate non-traditional forms of employment such as this, specifically in the academic community?” the Commission is asked.
As a warning, the contract lecturers held a 48-hour strike on January 22. At the time they said industrial action would be stepped up if the university failed to satisfy its demands.
The chairman of the union, Lambros Lambrianou, said that they have been trying for the past three years, when Dede was founded, to get the university’s management to engage in a dialogue with them.
This, he said, was made possible last September but the agreement achieved to scrap pay cuts, introduced in 2013 and 2015, and additional funds for conference participation and to publish their research, was never implemented.