CIT staff seek to step up industrial action

Cork Institute of Technology lecturers are seeking to be allowed step up industrial action as management plans to merge with another college despite no legal requirement to do so.

The Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) branch at the college passed a motion of no confidence in CIT president Brendan Murphy this week over the continuation of activities aimed at a planned merger with Institute of Technology Tralee. This includes recent efforts to make internal appointments at both colleges for project leaders in connection with the Munster Technological University proposal and a budget allocated for €1.2m to be spent on related activities.

CIT did not reply to the TUI Cork Colleges Branch statement that said approving the creation of two new merger-related jobs was provocative. The academic staff at CIT are on low-level industrial action as part of a national TUI policy opposing compulsory mergers between two or more institutes of technology before the approval of any technological universities.

While this has been national policy since the process for achieving technological university status was designed five years ago, the previous government’s bill to underpin it was never passed. The bill has yet to be discussed by the new Dáil and the TUI branch pointed to a line in last May’s government programme that says the requirement for mandatory mergers to establish technological universities can be reviewed if geographical reasons mean a merger is not feasible.

The TUI does not oppose technological universities but says the merger requirement should not become law as it believes it is more about cost-cutting than improving education.

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