Mediation finally fails

The mediation that has been ongoing between NUI Galway and the four female academics taking High Court cases for gender discrimination in the 08/09 promotion round to senior lecturer has finally ended in failure. It began with an adjournment two days before the hearing on May 4th in which NUI Galway were attempting to have the cases thrown out on legal grounds alone. Despite their subterfuge, we were able to show that the mediation had been initiated by NUI Galway, even though they had nothing to lose in that hearing. We believe NUI Galway backed down and went for mediation, after years of refusing to negotiate, because they wanted to avoid the demonstration we planned for outside the High Court (this video will show you why!). The campaign effectively had NUIG management trapped and they knew it: whether they won or lost, NUI Galway’s hypocrisy would be exposed in all the national media. Having insisted all these years that it was for the five women to prove the injustice in court as there was nothing management could do to put it right, this hearing for four of the women’s cases would have shown management were attempting to stop the women from doing that.

The 08/09 round of promotion to senior lecturer at NUI Galway was corrupt: we’ve shown how five undeserving men were promoted and Micheline says there are seven in all. That’s why only one woman was promoted in that round against 16 men, even though more than 50% of the junior lecturers were women. That’s also why management has never attempted to investigate what went on in that round despite admitting there was a problem. They know it was corrupt because, as we have shown, they were involved.

To be fair to them, it’s not really the campaign who now have them trapped — management have mostly done it for themselves. Since President Jim Browne came to power in 2008, six months before the corrupt round of promotions, NUI Galway’s policy has been to fight everything and never give in. In dealing with the unions, grievances with staff and any legal challenges, this management always fight to the bitter end. Senior staff often comment on how the previous president would have had the sense to resolve the matter by promoting the women. Instead the present management, under President Browne, are once again trying to wear down their opponents and bully them into giving in. The campaign is not privy to details of the mediation, but we feel certain that this bullying attitude is the reason the mediation went on so long and still ended in failure.

In any abusive relationship, the abused party has to find the courage to stand up and name the abuse for what it is. It is the female staff at NUI Galway who have particularly suffered under the present regime, as is usual with male bullies. First Micheline, and then the five women who were also shortlisted in the 08/09 round, have had the courage to stand up and face down management. They are doing this for all of the staff at NUI Galway, particularly the women. You can show your support by resolving now to be part of our demonstration outside the High Court for the rescheduled hearing sometime this autumn. If we can manage an impressive demo, we believe management will finally have to agree to what the women want. We know the women are not being greedy, want no more than the injustice corrected and are willing to compromise. Management really want the bad publicity to go away – but to get that they have to realise that bullying is not going to work this time.

With the meditation over, Micheline and this campaign can again publicise NUI Galway’s gender discrimination. Micheline’s lecture tour of the US will ensure there are many opportunities, starting with coverage in Ireland during August before she goes, then in the US with media coverage of the tour there, and then again here when she returns in November. Every time she speaks to the media or gives one of the many lectures about her grandmother’s famous tour, Micheline will also reference the campaign and the injustice for the five women. AS will the documentary about Hanna she plans. You can support what she is doing and help highlight the gender discrimination at NUI Galway by contributing to the crowd funding to film the tour, for the documentary Hanna and Me- Passing on the Flame.


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