ONE of the country’s largest third-level colleges will not be renewing the contracts of up to 60 staff next autumn as part of a series of cutbacks due to financial pressure.
The part-time lecturers have been informed by Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) that their 12- month contracts due to expire at the end of August will not be renewed.
“We regret that due to budgetary constraints and the need for a prudent allocation of resources, the institute is not in a position at this time to issue a contract for the academic year 2008/2009,” management told between 50 and 60 staff in a recent letter.
Some academic job cuts were expected to help meet CIT reach a target of 20,000 lecturing hours, equivalent of at least 35 full-time positions, which was first reported in the Irish Examiner a month ago.
But the number of people now likely to be affected has angered the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI), which represents the lecturers involved.
“This is the most serious staffing situation we’ve been in for years, and we’re not even being given any information,” said local TUI executive member Pat Ahern.
“We are seeking an urgent meeting with management to discuss the situation and try and resolve the issue. If cost savings are required, we’d be glad to make proposals or at least negotiate with the college,” he said.
The letters were received on the last day of term last Friday by lecturers at CIT’s main campus in Bishopstown, the Crawford College of Art and Design, Cork School of Music and the National Maritime College in Ringaskiddy.
At least another 30 part-time lecturers at CIT are also represented by TUI and it is unclear whether they will be retained.
A CIT spokeswoman said it was normal for all colleges to advise part-time employees of contracts expiring and that the college would contact them again if the situation changes.
“The bulk of CIT’s budget is spent on pay and we have to keep within our budget. We got an increase in our budget this year but we have to make adjustments to make savings,” she said.
The institute is believed to have a €4 million deficit but has already come under pressure to limit cuts to classes for school children at Cork School of Music.
It is understood that the proposed cuts in part-time lecturing across CIT’s schools and departments will be discussed at a meeting of the college’s governing body next Thursday.
While other institutes of technology face financial difficulties, it is understood they have not proposed anything like the cutbacks proposed by CIT.
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