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Tartu University Faculty Association

All employees of the University of Tartu (both academic and non-academic, with either an employment contract or an authorisation agreement), as well as doctoral students, master’s students, and retired employees can become members of the Tartu University Faculty Association.

Role of the Tartu University Faculty Association

  • To work in partnership with the University of Tartu towards the overall improvement of the university, both as a workplace and as a whole. With good communication, the Tartu University Faculty Association aims to achieve improvements which are to the satisfaction of all involved.
  • To stand up for the wellbeing and rights of its members, as well as those of the University of Tartu’s other employees. The Tartu University Faculty Association engages on both a collective and a personal level, taking into account that the employee is often more vulnerable than the employer in a working relationship.
  • To be involved in the decisions made at the University of Tartu. By extension, to be involved in education policy more generally, with the aim of ensuring the quality and sustainability of education and research in Estonia.

Ongoing projects of the Tartu University Faculty Association

University of Tartu Collective Agreement

In mid-2018, the University of Tartu and the Tartu University Faculty Association signed a three-year Collective Agreement. The Collective Agreement is an important document which outlines the University of Tartu’s agreed voluntary obligations. The overall aim of the Collective Agreement is to motivate University of Tartu employees and to ensure their workplace satisfaction. The Collective Agreement also addresses other aspects of the relationship between the University of Tartu and the Tartu University Faculty Association, such as the ways in which employees and the Tartu University Faculty Association are to be involved in future decision-making.

Cross-sectoral cooperation regarding the funding of research and higher education

The Tartu University Faculty Association cooperates with the trade unions of other universities, as well as with sectoral and cross-sectoral unions. For example, the Tartu University Faculty Association collaborates with UNIVERSITAS, The Estonian Trade Union Confederation, Eesti Teaduskoda, the Estonian Young Academy of Sciences, and various student bodies.

In February 2019, the Tartu University Faculty Association organised Support Day of Science, as well as a photoshoot at the University of Tartu. On 4 May 2019, the Tartu University Faculty Association participated in the March for Science, in order to show support for Estonian scientists and to draw attention to issues regarding research funding.

The Tartu University Faculty Association and Eesti Maaülikooli Ametiühing (The Trade Union of the Estonian University of Life Sciences) organised a strike in front of the Tartu office of the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research. Over two hundred staff and students from the University of Tartu and the University of Life Sciences participated in the strike. The aim was to achieve a pay raise for academic employees, as well as to demand the honouring of the Estonian Research Agreement, in which research funds equating to 1% of GDP had been agreed.

Visits to the various institutes of the University of Tartu to introduce the joint contract and to invite employees to join the Tartu University Faculty Association

Vaja on tugevaid suure liikmesusega ametiühinguid, kes on sektori tasandil koondunud. Ainult siis on võimalik tekitada olukord, kus akadeemia muresid ei saa ignoreerida ja nõudmisi tuleb arvestada. Vaja on tegutseda sektori tasandil, sest rahastus tuleb esmajärjekorras riigilt. Akadeemilisi töötajaid esindavad organisatsioonid (ametiühingud, Teaduskoda, ENTA) on ühise eesmärgi nimel juba koondunud. See pole aga olnud piisav. Tõhus sektori tasandi surve, mida otsustajail pole võimalik ignoreerida, saab sündida vaid tugeva rahvarohke kodanikuaktiivsuse korral. Arvestades Eesti seadusandlikku maastikku ja nõudmiste aegumatust ka tulevikus, on sellise kodanikuaktiivsuse kõige tõhusam ja jätkusuutlikum vorm liikmerohkete ametiühingute olemasolu ülikoolides.

Salary, stability, and academic freedom! This requires hard work. The first and easiest step is to become a member of the Tartu University Faculty Association.

Modernising the Tartu University Faculty Association

The Tartu University Faculty Association is a valuable partner of the University of Tartu. It raises pressing issues and is involved in important decision-making at the university. The Tartu University Faculty Association offers its members the opportunity to participate in these processes. The Tartu University Faculty Association also encourages initiative outside the scope of "traditional trade union activities", since one of the great advantages of today’s trade unions is their ability to interact and integrate with their communities.

Major finished projects

Health survey of the staff of the University of Tartu Library

During the renovation of the University of Tartu Library, staff were concerned that the renovation was being carried out without due consideration for their wellbeing. In particular, staff were concerned about the potential long-term health risks of working at the library during the renovation period. In response, the Tartu University Faculty Association measured the dust levels at the library during the renovation and conducted a health survey, with the aim of mapping potential issues and identifying any required precautions. This cooperation between the University of Tartu Library and the Tartu University Faculty Association led to the improvement of the working conditions at the library during the renovation period.

Why become a member of the Tartu University Faculty Association?

The Tartu University Faculty Association offers its members the opportunity to become involved in the improvement of education and research at the University of Tartu. Members are also provided with assistance in the case of labour disputes or other work-related issues.

Although it would be beneficial for the Tartu University Faculty Association if its members were active in the association at all times, this is not possible in practice. We encourage members to be active in the Tartu University Faculty Association to the extent possible, and to contribute to the areas in which they are most interested. Being a member of the Tartu University Faculty Association is a great contribution: each member makes the Tartu University Faculty Association stronger, and helps to make its voice heard when representing the interests of its members.

The Tartu University Faculty Association cannot exist without its members. The smaller the membership of the Tartu University Faculty Association, the harder it is to make new and better agreements. Although becoming a member of the Tartu University Faculty Association is voluntary, the benefits it achieves apply to all employees of the University of Tartu. It is therefore more equitable to contribute to the Tartu University Faculty Association.

Salary, stability, and academic freedom! This requires hard work. The first and easiest step is to become a member of the Tartu University Faculty Association.