PhD staff left below the breadline
Labour spokesperson on Further and Higher Education Annie Hoey said the paltry increase of €500 in stipends for PhD staff will leave workers below the breadline.
Senator Hoey said until a Living Wage is provided to all PhD staff we will continue to see an exodus of researchers from this country.
Senator Hoey said:
“The paltry sum of €500 goes nowhere near enough to addressing the chronic under funding of these workers. As recently as last week, we had PhD worker representatives outside Leinster House demanding a living wage of €24,000 as a minimum. PhD candidates do essential work in the Further and Higher Education sector, and earn less than the minimum wage while doing so.
“Minister Harris has told us he has ambition for the future of Further and Higher Education in Ireland but since taking office he has made no meaningful attempt to reform the system, to end the casualisation of work, and the underpayment of PhD and Post Doc candidates which are used to plug staffing gaps in universities around the country. To now announce a once off €500 payment to a cohort but not all PhD students and which will provide little relief in the face of sourcing costs, is rather pathetic.
“A well-educated and well trained work force that embraces knowledge, innovation and lifelong learning is the very basis for our future competitiveness. Investing in the workers at the frontline is of paramount importance in protecting this.
“The Postgraduate Workers Alliance of Ireland have rightly pointed out that this once off €500 will not pull the thousands of PhD candidates around the country out of the poverty wages that they are paid, and will not even be granted to every candidate. Furthermore within the context of a budget that emphasises tax cuts, Budget 2023 will do little to relieve any of the financial burden these workers face.”