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University plan for name tags rejected

A university's request that staff who deal with the public wear a name tag while at work has been dismissed by unions as "hare-brained".

NUI Maynooth made the suggestion during talks about implementing the Croke Park deal, which are being held separately between unions and the country's seven universities.

It was made as part of proposals to save money, make universities and colleges more accountable and provide better services to students.

If implemented in full, it would mean that academics and other staff dealing with the public would be obliged to go around with identity tags.

The university is also demanding that all voicemail messages be acknowledged within four hours. Staff are being told to use voicemail facilities attached to the inhouse phone system in a "professional manner".

When they use email they have to use the signature facilities and include their name, job title and contact details. All staff will also take part in an annual evaluation which will determine whether they receive an incremental on their pay scale.

The Irish Federation of University Teachers (IFUT) and other unions are involved in separate discussions with the seven universities involved.

IFUT general secretary Mike Jennings said the union had been assured by the departments of Finance and Education that the purpose behind implementing the agreement was to save money. He said he would not discuss some of the "hare-brained" proposals put forward by the universities.

Meanwhile, more than 150 academics have signed a petition claiming the agreement poses a threat to academic freedom. Many will attend a meeting next Saturday afternoon in the Gresham Hotel, organised by former TUI president Paddy Healy.

Irish Independent