WhatsApp Image 2024-06-12 at 11.04.28 (2)


Researchers project continues in Avilés


Spain the destination for continued talks.

WhatsApp Image 2024-06-12 at 11.04.28

Our second workshop in the Commission-funded project on researchers working conditions brought European trade unionists from both the public and private sector research unions to Avilés, Spain, last month. The workshop focused specifically on the impact that research funding has on research professionals, the necessity to provide these workers with the tools to deliver, and, specifically on the working conditions of researchers.

The event brought together key stakeholders from across Europe, including trade unionists, decision makers from the local and European level, and other experts from the intersection between investment and research. With contributions including local representatives from Avilés, the workshop’s agenda featured insightful presentations, engaging discussions, and collaborative working groups, all aimed at improving the landscape for researchers. Through local, national and pan-European presentations, case studies, and collaborative discussions, participants delved into the challenges currently being faced, along with potential solutions at various sectors and levels. The event underscored the importance of continued dialogue and action to ensure that researchers across Europe can thrive in supportive and well-funded environments.

The workshop began with an overview of the project and recent research results, highlighting the current state of working conditions for researchers, the issues held in common between participants, what measures have been introduced to alleviate them and the role of trade unions in delivering improved rights. This was followed by a number of national case studies, with UGT delving deeper into the specific challenges faced by Spanish researchers, and an insightful case study from Denmark presented by AC. This was supported during the second day, with CGIL examining the Italian experience with research funding.

Central to continuing our information-gathering throughout this project (a key pillar in future European advocacy work), the plenary discussion on national experiences with research funding and working conditions showcased leading causes of poor working conditions from various regions. Participants reiterated the findings further in working group sessions, exploring actionable solutions that trade unions could implement. The results of these group discussions were presented and debated later on in the agenda, centred on the viability of potential strategies. The day concluded with a presentation by Jonas Fernandez, MEP, who discussed the implications of EU funding on researchers' working conditions, and whom we would like to thank for coming to speak with us during such a busy period.

The workshop concluded with a summary of the key insights and a forward-looking discussion on the next steps for improving working conditions in research. Outside the packed workshop agenda, we joined local workers, unions and political representatives to protest against the closing local Saint-Gobain Sekurit facilities, showing solidarity with our comrades in Avilés.

We would like to thank our hosts for their excellent contribution to this session, which we will continue to build upon throughout the course of this project.