STUDENTS will stage two rallies at Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) today urging management and lecturers to resolve a row which has meant Christmas exam results have not yet been issued.
The Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) branch at the college voted last week that lecturers should not notify the results of first semester exams and continuous assessments, due to have been received by the college’s 6,000 full-time students yesterday.
The union claims WIT reduced the pay for each exam paper corrected from about €8 to about €4, even though the reaching of an agreed national pay rate is under discussion by TUI and all institutes of technology in an industrial relations forum. The union says it is not the rate is in dispute but the fact college authorities breached agreed grievance procedures under which the issue should remain unchanged until after the matter is resolved.
“This has been in dispute since November and we had no desire for things to drag out this long. The last thing we want is to affect students but it is in the hands of management,” said Pat Ahern, TUI area representative for Cork, Tipperary and Waterford.
A WIT spokesperson said the college had adjusted the payments to bring it in line with those in other institutes of technology, and that it has requested the Labour Relations Commission to mediate in the dispute.
“The institute recognises and regrets the inconvenience and anxiety this causes to students. Efforts continue to seek an early resolution to this dispute so that we minimise the impact on students and any further distress,” he said.
WIT Students’ Union president Cathy Pembroke said the protests are aimed at demonstrating their anger and concern to both sides in the dispute.
“We want them to just resolve this and ensure that students get their results as soon as possible,” she said.
“It’s particularly important for final year students, who start applying for jobs at this time of year, who need these results to indicate their progress and abilities to prospective employers,” Ms Pembroke said.
A student, who did not wish to be named, said the delay is causing anxiety among classmates. “Stress levels are just getting higher every day because people want to know their results.”
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