Recent Industrial Action in Private Sector Archaeology: An Open Invitation to attend Mediation
Friday 6th July 2018
Given the recent industrial relations, which have thrown the Irish archaeological sector into the spotlight, the Board of the IAI would like to issue the following statement:
The aim of the IAI, through the representation of our members, is to advance and strengthen the profession of archaeology in Ireland and membership is open to professional archaeologists working in both Ireland and Northern Ireland. The IAI represents members working in the public sector, the private (or ‘commercial’) sector, as well as museums and academia. We support the rights of Irish archaeologists, both as employees and employers, to a stable and sustainable employment environment.
As construction projects gain pace once again, there is an accelerating demand for suitably trained, qualified and experienced archaeologists to undertake necessary mitigatory works. In order to keep these individuals, and their knowledge, in the sector, appropriate remuneration and working conditions are a necessity. This has long been a concern to our members and was formally assessed by a Working Group for the Review of Pay Rates (WGRPR), commissioned by the IAI in March 2014. For all archaeologists, recognition (financial and otherwise) of their qualifications and their professional work is of key importance.
In order to achieve this, it is important for our small profession to unite to address these issues and for all parties to show willingness to engage in meaningful negotiations about employment conditions. The IAI is not a union and cannot enforce any sectoral pay rates for our members. Given our diverse professional membership and our cross-border agenda, the IAI has long maintained a neutrality on the issue of pay and remuneration, which varies across the public and private sector and between national boundaries.
Archaeologists working in the public and academic sectors have a long tradition of trade union recognition and representation; we believe that the commercial sector should be no different. The Board of the IAI is willing to facilitate discussions and act as a mediator between the interested parties. As ever, if any Member of the IAI has any concerns regarding this area, we would invite them to raise these with the Board.
The Board would like to acknowledge the commercial sector employers and the UNITE trade union who have engaged in the negotiation of these rights to date. We hope that their ongoing dialogue will be fruitful and bring Archaeology to equivalence with other areas of the construction sector. Ultimately, these actions provide for a greater recognition of Archaeology as a true profession.
On behalf of the IAI Board
Dr James Bonsall, Chairperson, Institute of Archaeologists of Ireland
Cian Hogan, Public Relations Officer, Institute of Archaeologists of Ireland
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