Institutional crisis if the scientific sector is not listened to, researchers warn

Mexican researchers and professors continue to express their disagreement with the actions of the National Council for Science and Technology (Conacyt) in various areas, such as the ProCienciaMx network and the Independent Consortium of Research Workers for Conacyt Chairs (Siintracátedras) who have separately deplored unjustified dismissals, unilateral actions and changes in assessment criteria For admission, continuity and promotion into the National System of Scholars (SNI), which in their view “damages the scientific community and creates uncertainty”.

For example, Siintracátedras has denounced that Conacyt refuses to move toward signing a collective labor agreement and, conversely, has unilaterally proposed a series of amendments to the Conacyt Chair’s guidelines, despite the fact that last Wednesday, June 9, the Director held The General, María Elena Alvarez-Boella Roses, held a virtual meeting with more than 1,000 young researchers assigned to the Conacyt Chair, where she recognized their “valuable and talented participation that deserves better working conditions”.

Through a statement, the newly formed union clarified that the guidelines presented by the council lack a specific policy on labor matters, as they are not accompanied by the new statutes for academic staff or the general conditions of work committed to publication, as well as informed the legal representatives of the council at a hearing held this Tuesday , June 22, they maintain their dismissal policy. In this sense, the union sticks to its position on open dialogue and calls on Consett to avoid the institutional crisis that the strike might cause.

The union has already documented cases of classmates being fired over the past week, despite the fact that it has been explicitly requested to halt these actions to preserve the parties’ willingness to improve working conditions that currently govern the program and which run counter to current regulations. . in work matters. Dismissals reached an increase of 633% between 2018 and 2019. Most of these dismissals relate to the punitive use of evaluations, both those conducted by Consett herself and due to entry and stay in the national system of researchers. Most of the people who have been fired for these reasons are women.

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Violations of the current law

For its part, the ProCienciaMx network announced that the new standards of the national system for researchers represent major irregularities. They acknowledge that although the criteria by which researchers were evaluated up to a year ago were perfect, now other reasons or requirements have been added that limit entry, permanence, or promotion into the system.

Although some parts of the new guidelines are better adapted to the assessment sector, such as the humanities or social sciences, infractions start from violations of the law, as this is a sign that the standards should derive from regulation, and in turn from science and technology law (LCyT) is valid. But in this case, the current LCyT Act is 2002 and the new SNI regulation published on March 5, 2021 in the Official Gazette of the Federation (DOF), does not comply with it, nor does the new assessment criteria. In addition, the so-called new bill on science, humanities, technology and innovation promoted by Conacyt has not yet been submitted for debate in legislative chambers, and therefore has not been approved or passed into law.

On the other hand, the new SNI evaluation criteria were published on May 29, just two days before the 2021 call came out, the latter being published at least four months late. The wording of the criteria has not been modified in accordance with the provisions of the new regulation, under which it violates Articles 7 and 25, which state that the Executive Secretariat of the SNI must “submit to the consideration of the General Council the evaluation criteria to be presented by the Governing Committees.” According to the testimonies of several members of the Governing Committees. Various, they were not consulted in setting the standards published by Conacyt on May 29.

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The list of observations continues, so ProCienciaMX has also submitted a series of proposals to the authorities requesting that they be evaluated against the criteria used by the Governing Committees in 2020, correct the inconsistencies and send a new call to all members of the SNI; That redrafted standards are only approved until new legislation is enacted and then a transparent reformulation takes place.

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