TWO of the country’s largest institutes of technology have indicated they have little or no scope for redundancies despite Department of Education suggestions that a collapse in apprentice training could leave dozens of lecturers surplus to requirement.
The news last week that the department is gathering data from the colleges on any numbers of surplus academic staff was followed with a decision on Friday evening by the executive of the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) to ballot its members on possible lifting of industrial action at schools and colleges.
The imposition of any compulsory redundancies in the public service would most likely affect TUI members as the union is still not engaged in discussions with the department about reforms proposed in the Croke Park public service pay deal. This means they could also be open to pay-cuts that are ruled out for unions signed up to the agreement.
A letter sent to all institutes of technology has told management they should consider non-TUI members as having priority for vacant posts if applicants are deemed surplus to requirement and seeking redeployment to another college.
But Cork Institute of Technology, the country’s second-largest provider of apprentice education, said none of its lecturers are surplus to requirements.
“There is adaptability within CIT, particularly since the introduction of modularisation, which has allowed us to be more flexible in course provision,” a spokeswoman said.
“In the area of apprentice training, we are interested in maintaining significant levels in that area. We recognise the national position will require a reconfiguration, but are of the opinion that decisions should not be made in the short term, CIT is looking to the future,” she said.
The college is engaged in an ongoing review of apprentice education by the department and the Higher Education Authority, and it recently consolidated craft education into a single school to create critical mass in this area, in construction and engineering fields.
“This strategy would ensure maximum use of the significant human and capital resources already invested in CIT, which looks forward to maintaining and developing craft education and progression in this region,”
Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) said it has yet to complete its appraisal of apprentice training staff but such lecturers have already moved from different areas to others.
“That is not the same as saying there isn’t anybody surplus, as individual timetables have yet to be looked at. But people who work with apprentices are already working across other areas, and our objective would be to retain people as they have a huge range of skills,” a DIT spokesman said.
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