June 15, 2021

Scientific collectives demand from Minister Duque a “real negotiation” of the Science Law: “We do not see will”


The Ministry of Science, led by Pedro Duque, addresses the important challenge of reforming the Science Law. Among other things, it reviews the working conditions of scientific personnel, but there is strong dissatisfaction in many professional groups and unions, who consider that there are elements that “precarious” the sector even more and that delve into the extremely high temporality of your template. The Ministry opened a period of meetings with different groups and parties, as well as a negotiation table with unions, but after the first meetings there is a great fear among the workers that the “negotiation” will remain in this, without a real discussion of the new articulated. “We do not see that they are open to changing anything, that is not negotiating,” criticizes Elisa Fernández, CCOO representative in the Red Tide of Science and Research.


The science of excellence is not incompatible with the stability of the research staff

OPINION: “The science of excellence is not incompatible with the stability of the research staff”, by Pedro Duque

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Pedro Duque published a column a few days ago in elDiario.es in which he defended his desire to dialogue on legislative reform, although he added: “But our objective is clear: to define a scientific career with an independent evaluation to select the best ones taking into account their merits”. “I do not aspire that our reforms are accepted without some initial resistance and I believe that the debate is necessary. I hope, however, that we do not fall into Manichean debates, so common today in politics. The science of excellence is not at odds with the stability of the Research staff does not require excluding the middle class from our R & D & I system. We must not choose between excellence and rights, because one is meaningless without the other “, he argued in the article.

The Red Tide fears that the blueprint now on the table will hardly undergo any changes. The platform encompasses almost twenty professional organizations of different types, such as the Federation of Young Precarious Researchers (FJI Precarias), FPIs in struggle, FPU investigates, Science with the Future and CCOO, among others. Last Sunday, the groups agreed on a statement in which they point out that the Ministry of Science has had meetings with various entities, associations and unions that are part of Red Tide. “The different entities have told the Ministry that the draft did not meet their expectations, nor did it respond adequately to current research needs and problems. However, there is no sense that the Ministry has a clear will to negotiate and is open to changing your proposal “, warns the text.

This Wednesday the Red Tide groups called a “virtual demonstration” from 12 noon to 1 pm to make visible the precariousness in the sector, with the labels #laciencianosehacesola Y #rightsofscience, as well as their rejection of the current draft text of the Science Law and to insist on their call to Minister Duque for a “real negotiation”, they explain from the platform.

The Ministry insists that it is “open to negotiate”

In the Ministry of Science they reject criticism. “There is an absolutely real negotiation,” insist sources from the Ministry led by Pedro Duque, who recall that they have met with “25 trade union, business, scientific and innovative associations” and that “two meetings” have already taken place with the majority unions in the social dialogue table. “There is still no consolidated text. Of course we are open to negotiate. If not, we would not meet with the groups,” these same sources indicate. The initial intention of the minister was to approve the legislative reform before the end of the year, but it is not a closed date.

The UGT union considers that there are opportunities to negotiate. “We are somewhat more positive or optimistic about the possibility of reaching agreements with the Ministry of Science,” explains Javier Sánchez, spokesman for Science and Technology at UGT. “We believe we have a reasonably fluid level of dialogue, we have sent them a series of proposals and improvements of the preliminary draft of the Reform of the Law of Science. We hope and wish that many of them are accepted, because they are good for the group of researchers “adds Sánchez.

In the union they consider that the current text “has conflictive and controversial points”, where they are influencing, “but not everything is bad: there are positive aspects, especially regarding the transfer of R&D from the Public System to the fabric business, public-private collaboration, … “, adds the representative of UGT.

CCOO, for its part, has refused to send proposals because they consider that “what they are proposing is not negotiating.” “We are not going to enter the game, this is a circus. Negotiating is not that I send you proposals in a e-mail, is to convene the social dialogue table and that we discuss the text. A table with all those involved, for example the Ministry of Universities “, defends Elisa Fernández, from CCOO, who recalls that” more than 60% “of research in Spain is done in universities.” And where is the Ministry of Universities ? “, launches the unionist. At the UGT they share their concern on this point:” Communication is much scarcer with the Ministry of Universities “, they agree.

Sources from the Ministry of Universities, led by Manuel Castells, as well as the Ministry of Science, respond to this medium that “both ministries work together” in a “coordinated” manner, although in the ministry of Pedro Duque, the one who leads the reform of the normative text . In Universities they indicate that they participate in the parts of the text that affect their scope, but that the dialogue towards the outside is conveyed by Science.

In CSIF they have sent proposals to the Ministry, such as their “resounding opposition to the extinction of the current scale of officials of Titular Scientists of OPIS”, which the union defends is compatible “with the labor figures proposed by the Ministry”, called ‘tenure track ‘. The union showed a few days ago “its concern” for “the immobile position of the Administration” at the dialogue table. “We hope that he will relax his initial proposals during the negotiation,” they express in CSIF.

From political parties, in Más País they have joined the virtual mobilization with a message from the leader of the formation, Íñigo Errejón, who calls the Government to agree on the legislative reform. “The draft that he has presented is much less than insufficient,” Errejón has criticized.

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