Waterford Institute of Technology and IT Carlow staff vote in favour of industrial action

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Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) and IT Carlow academic staff are set to go on strike as a result of management plans to submit an application for Technological University status later this month.

Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) members at WIT and IT Carlow have voted “overwhelmingly” in favour of industrial action, pinpointing a lack of consultation, engagement and information in the process.

“To date we as academic staff representatives have not had one single meeting with our management to inform us about these plans or to consult with us about any aspect that this new entity, a Technological University, is supposed to take. This is not acceptable to our members,” stated WIT TUI branch secretary Kathleen Moore Walsh.

IT Carlow branch chair Claus Derenda added: “A similar process in Dublin for DIT, Tallaght and Blanchardstown who have recently submitted a successful Technological University application involved a meaningful information and consultation process with academic staff representatives that culminated in an agreement between staff and management before the Technological University application was made. A merger of WIT and IT Carlow requires a similar process of engagement for a successful application.”

In a statement following the strike announcement, WIT president Prof Willie Donnelly said the college is fully aware of the TUI’s proposed actions and is fully committed to working with the union to come to a resolution.

President Donnelly said both colleges have been working collectively on an application for Technological University status.“We have made a submission to the Higher Education Authority to support the development of an application for and to support the release of unions’ members from their normal workload to engage in the Technological University development process.

 “At a staff information session at the start of the academic year I publicly stated my commitment to ensure that all staff have an opportunity to help shape the new Technological University environment. I remain committed to that view,” he added.