SIPTU representatives have said the decision by the Government to lift the cap of €190,000 on the salaries of senior academics within the university sector is an insult to the thousands of low paid and precariously employed workers within the third level sector. SIPTU represents thousands of workers across the third level sector, including academics, library staff, porters and cleaners. “This is a real kick in the teeth to the public service workers who have carried this country through the worst years of the economic crisis. It is also the wrong policy and the wrong focus. The money which the Government says it has found to enhance the salaries of already highly paid academics would be much better spent in eradicating the first two entry points on the university pay scales and restoring normal progression and promotional opportunities,” said Adrian Kane, the SIPTU Divisional Organiser for Public Administration.“The academic sector has mirrored the worst employment practices of the private sector over the last decade with the result that the over-all performance of the third level sector has suffered. Treating academia as an adjunct of Irish business also diminishes the standing of our third level sector on the global stage.”He added: “The Government has become the biggest sponsor of precarious employment though its obsession with out-sourcing and the promotion of public private partnerships and similar misadventures. If the Government emphasis was instead on providing universities with the necessary financial resources to ensure adequate staffing across the third level sector and improving overall employment conditions, the quality of the third level sector would be enhanced immeasurably.”The SIPTU Education Sector is holding a one-day conference on precarious employment within the third level sector in Liberty Hall in April.