SIPTU members have supported a government commitment to establish a Third Level Policy Forum which will include representatives of the Government, students, trade unions and further and higher level institutions. SIPTU Education Sector Organiser, Karl Byrne, said: “The commitment from the new Minister of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris, to establish a Third Level Policy Forum made up of all stakeholders is a positive development. The Minister committed to the establishment of a Third Level Policy Forum at a meeting this afternoon (Wednesday, 29th July) with ICTU affiliated unions representing members in the further and higher level education sector. “The SIPTU Education Sector committee has previously called for the creation of such a forum to examine the creation of a sustainable funding model for third level education. Such a forum should seek to develop policies which will create greater security of employment across the sector by tackling issues around precarious employment and contracts. There must also be consideration of cost of living issues for students and how we can ensure more equal access to third level education.” He added: “At the meeting, department officials also confirmed that any further advice in relation to the re-opening of third level institutions would be in full compliance with public health guidelines from the Department of Health and the Health Protection Surveillance Centre.”