Cyprus Mail

Contract university lecturers strike over working conditions

Lecturers and research staff on contracts on strike at the university on Monday (Christos Theodorides)


Members of the union of adjunct doctoral teaching and research staff (Dede) at the University of Cyprus (UCy) started a 48-hour strike on Monday to demand improvements to their terms of employment.

The union, which represents assistant lecturers, research staff and post-doctoral researchers at UCy who are not full members of the faculty and are not on track for tenure, is demanding 10-month contracts instead of the two, three-month contracts given to its members each year, employer’s contribution to the social insurance fund, maternity leave and health insurance.

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.

Lifting a restriction stipulating that assistant teaching staff could work for only six semesters in five years was another demand.

Another grievance, Lambrianou said, is that they do not have the right to vote in the elections for rector.

“Everyone at the university, students, academics, administrative officials, have the right to vote, except us, because we are not full members even though our employment is affected by the actions and decisions of the authorities,” he said.

Lambrianou said that adjunct staff earn on average €9,570 per year and that they work on contracts meaning they do not earn “a single cent” during the summer months, and the Christmas and Easter holidays, as they are unemployed.

“All these reasons urge many doctoral researchers to migrate, or even change their professions, after many years of studies,” he said.

This strike is a warning, the union said, adding that industrial action would be stepped up if the university failed to satisfy its demands.

The Council of UCy has already announced it would ensure the strike would not affect any classes.


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