Trade Unions

There are three trade unions of particular relevance to Irish universities.

The Irish Federation of University Teachers (IFUT) (website) is a specialised academic union. Membership is open to “university teachers; researchers; staff in professional library, computer and administrative posts; and higher technicians in some institutions, part- and full-time and temporary and permanent”. Total membership is 1,758 (2008 Annual Report).

The Services, Industrial, Professional and Technical Union (SIPTU) (website¦wikipedia) is a general union. In the education sector its members “include academic staff, administrative, technical and library personnel as well as catering, cleaning, maintenance and security workers”. It is Ireland’s largest union, with over 200,000 members (about a third of all unionised employees, and approaching 10% of the entire Irish workforce).

The Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) (website¦wikipedia) represents teachers in post-primary schools and higher education. Total membership is about 14,500.

All three unions are affiliated to the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) (website¦wikpedia).

The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) (website¦wikipedia) is the only national student union. It currently has about 250,000 members, across more than 40 colleges. In the North, it co-operates with the National Union of Students (UK) to represent students as NUS-USI (website¦wikipedia).

Free Education for Everyone (FEE) (website¦wikipedia) does not claim to be a union, but rather “a grassroots group of students and college staff, set up to fight the re-introduction of fees while campaigning for genuinely free education for all”. Its protests have been co-ordinated with USI.


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