University Post
University of Copenhagen
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Opinion

Should we continue to have lab technicians at the University of Copenhagen?

Cut back — Laboratory technicians have been hard hit by cuts at the University of Copenhagen (UCPH). Not only through layoffs and job cuts, but also by leaving the remainder to do unskilled service work.

What does the University of Copenhagen want to do with its laboratory technicians?

In recent years, the University of Copenhagen has been through a major change process, partly due to financial cuts, but also due to an increase in demands from society towards educational institutions. These changes have led to many consequences for both students and, not least, staff. At the last big round of dismissals in 2016, the TAP-FU group was hit hard and especially the laboratory technicians. At the Faculty of Science and the Faculty of Health and Medicine, 24 and 16 full-time-equivalent jobs respectively out of a total of 141 and 242 disappeared from 2015 to 2016, despite the fact that they wanted to keep as many core services running as possible.

Many laboratory technicians find themselves de-skilled, partly because in some places there have been sackings in other disciplines, leaving some tasks that no one owns.

This is worrying in itself, but there has also been a change in what professional fields do what at UCPH. This can be seen in the shift in tasks between the disciplines, meaning that some employees have to perform work for which they are not educated and are therefore unable to perform in a qualified way, or that other staff perform tasks that management has defined as discontinued job tasks that have not in fact disappeared.

Many laboratory technicians find themselves de-skilled, partly because in some places there have been sackings in other disciplines, leaving some tasks that no one owns. These tasks are therefore forwarded to skilled laboratory technicians who suddenly have to carry out unskilled service work instead of participating in the research and teaching tasks that they are educated for, and the reason why they chose the job.

The HK section club has therefore planned a late-afternoon meeting on 8th June to focus on the skills and job descriptions of the laboratory staff, so that the group can offer assignments and projects that fit the skills that laboratory technicians have, rather than having lab technicians spending their time cleaning up and filling up.

However, this requires that management deals with the issue and decides what it is they want to use lab technicians for, and not least what skills are needed, instead of having lab technicians wasting their skills on unskilled tasks.

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