Postgraduate Worker's Organisation (PWO) Membership Form
What is PWO?

The PWO is the single national union for postgraduate researchers in Ireland. It advocates for better working conditions for postgraduate researchers including better pay, protective leave and residency rights for non-EU researchers. The PWO is a result of a merger between two groups that were previously active in this space, the Postgraduate Workers Alliance of Ireland (PGWAI) and the Postgraduate Collective Action Union (PCAU). Given the groups similar goals and interests, they decided to merge into a new entity to better represent postgraduate researchers in Ireland. Membership of the PWO is open to all postgraduate researchers. Whether you are doing a PhD straight out of undergrad or returning to education in retirement, you are welcome to join the PWO.

What does it mean to be a member of the PWO?

Being a postgraduate researcher is difficult - none of us are earning above the minimum wage, and all of us are overworked and short of time. Ireland is an expensive country, and has some of the worst stipend provision in the EU. The reality is, this will never change unless we work together. At the same time, the review of higher education in Ireland presents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to overhaul the chronically underfunded higher education system and make our lives more liveable. The PWO committees across the country want to build an organisation for researchers that can put the weight of our interests behind one strong cohesive union, and deliver meaningful change to all of our members.

Being a member of the PWO means that you put your weight behind us as representatives of the postgraduate researcher community going into the review and the further future. It means that, when it comes to it, we stand together to work for a better future for postgraduate researchers. The time you put into PWO is completely up to you - we always welcome people who have the time to help us to organise - but even if you don't, signing up with us helps improve our legitimacy and advocate more strongly on your behalf.

What are the goals of this group?

The goals of this group, going into the review and beyond, are to transition to an employment model for PhD researchers with a common regulatory framework. Our central document, the Fair Postgraduate Researcher Agreement (FRA), is available for all to see, and has been sent to more than 800 stakeholders across the academic and political spheres.

Is it normal to be in a union in Ireland?

Yes! In fact, some of the strongest unions in Ireland are based in education - this includes the Irish National Teacher's Organisation (INTO), the Teachers Union of Ireland (TUI) and the Association of Secondary School Teachers in Ireland (ASTI). And these groups all have one thing in common - their members have transparent, standardised contracts that provide them with a standard of living sufficient enough to live well in Ireland. We want the PWO to be able to provide the same to its members.

Why are we asking for this data?

We all know that our situation is dire - but if we want to make the argument to other stakeholders in the Irish academic and political spheres we will need to produce reports based on data provided to us by our members. While you don't have to provide this data, it will help us to fight our corner and make a stronger argument to policymakers.

If you run into an issue on this form, please contact with information about your problem and we will get back to you to assist.

Do you have any messaging platform to discuss these issues?

Yes! You can join our whatsapp:

Both of these platforms are great ways for you to stay in touch and get engaged on PWO actions.

You can also find PWO and all constituent branches on Twitter:

PWO Maynooth Twitter

I'm not a postgraduate researcher. Is there any way I can help?

Yes! You can become a friend of PWO by following this link.

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