Strike notice served on CIT

One of the country’s largest institutes of technology is facing a potentially crippling strike next week in a row over axed canteen staff.

Siptu served official strike notice on Cork Institute of Technology last night after six staff were let go from Student Services Ltd — a private, not-for-profit company which manages the institute’s four canteens and restaurants, as well as two shops.

Siptu said the six women were let go on Friday without any consultation or redundancy payments. The union sought a meeting with senior CIT management last week, including the institute’s president, Brendan Murphy, who sits on the company’s board, to discuss ways of saving the jobs.

The union asked that the redundancies be deferred pending the outcome of those talks.

After a meeting of the board, Siptu was told a meeting could take place but the decision to axe the jobs would not be reversed.

Mr Mulcahy said the remaining 44 Student Services Ltd staff were prepared to accept cuts to their working hours to save their colleagues’ jobs.

However, they have now balloted for industrial action and strike notice was served on CIT last night.

The union intends placing official pickets on all entrances to CIT’s campus in Bishopstown from 7am next Wednesday.

Mr Mulcahy said the union would be appealing to the 120 other Siptu members at CIT, most of whom are public-sector employees, as well as members of other unions including Impact and Mandate, for support. The strike will be limited to the Bishopstown campus and will not at this stage target CIT’s Cork School of Music or the National Maritime College of Ireland in Ringaskiddy.

“We regret the inconvenience this will cause to the institute,” said Mr Mulcahy.

“We are open to meaningful talks as soon as they reinstate the six workers.

“Student Services Ltd is a private company set up by the management of CIT.

“The company is run by a board of management including senior college managers and academics.

“Siptu members request that these individuals treat them with the respect they are due and engage in meaningful discussions with their union.”

A spokesperson for CIT said the institute had no comment to make because as far as it is concerned, the dispute is between Siptu and a private company.

A spokesperson for Student Services Ltd declined to comment last night.

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