SIPTU and IFUT have expressed outrage at the refusal by management at NUI Galway to attend a meeting at the Labour Relations Commission (LRC) to discuss an equality taskforce it has appointed. At a meeting with union representatives on Friday, 28th August, NUI Galway management stated that it would refuse to attend a conciliation hearing on gender equality problems in the university. Union members have expressed astonishment that a publicly funded institution would choose to disregard the State's industrial relations machinery. They stated that they have no confidence in the management appointed ‘gender equality task force’ and believe it will be neither independent nor effective.SIPTU Organiser, Noel Maguire, said: “We heard nothing new at this meeting. At the meeting management presented a version of events that denies current and historical reality. Oblivious to the extent of the problem, NUI Galway President, Jim Browne, sought to lecture staff representatives on management’s ‘bravery’ and ‘achievements’ on equality. “We believe that the meeting was not held in good faith. It is our view that the management strategy was more about simulating engagement, while in reality trying to frustrate any input from worker representatives. Our members have no confidence in NUI Galway management to resolve this problem internally. For a proper investigation of these matters the intervention of an independent third party is required. The refusal by management to accept this is a further demonstration of its abject fear of independent scrutiny on this subject."He added: “Both unions are ready to discuss all the issues using the LRC conciliation process. If the President is serious about ending discrimination and is genuine about co-operating with unions, then agreeing to attend the LRC would restore some semblance of confidence. “Our members are frustrated at the toxic environment they face every day; they are losing patience with management’s arrogant and obstructive attitude and are demanding action.”SIPTU and IFUT have also called for the intervention of the Minister for Education to resolve the dispute.