TUI Strike Action At ITT ‘Inevitable’ Unless Govt Negotiates On Critical Issues

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IT Tralee Feat

There could be strike action by IT Tralee TUI members in the new year.

TUI members in Institutes of Technology, including IT Tralee, have voted by a margin of 92% to engage in a campaign of industrial action in order to tackle a number of  issues in their sector.

In a vote with a 56% turnout of members, announced yesterday, the Union said strike action is inevitable before the general election unless meaningful negotiations with the Minister for Education takes place.

TUI President Gerry Quinn said: “Academic staff in Institutes of Technology have made their position very clear in this ballot, and the next course of action will be decided by the union’s Executive Committee in the new year. In the meantime, we urge the Minister for Education and Skills to engage meaningfully with us on a number of critical issues. In the absence of meaningful negotiations, strike action before the general election is inevitable.”

The Union says funding in the sector was cut by 35% (€190m) between 2008 and 2015. Over the same time period, student numbers rose by a (32%) 21,411 while lecturer numbers actually fell by 9.5% (535).

“This has had a direct, detrimental effect on the quality of service to students and the working conditions of academics,” said Mr Quinn.

“As a result of the fall in lecturer numbers and the steep rise in student numbers, lecturer workload has increased significantly and intolerably. Findings of a survey carried out by TUI (April 2015) show that lecturers are experiencing high levels of work related stress as a result of cutbacks and rationalisation measures in the sector,” he continued.

The Union is also concerned about elements of the recent publication of the Technological Universities Bill, which intends to see IT Tralee merged with Cork Institute of Technology.

They say “the intention to effect such huge change without proper resourcing in an era of hugely damaging cutbacks to the sector is ill-advised” and criticises “the lack of adequate consultation and meaningful engagement with our members”.

The Union is insisting that mergers must not be forced, and “if mergers are envisaged they must be appropriately funded and that the regional mission, which is central to the institute of technology ethos, must be explicitly retained.”

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