A work stoppage is taking place today at all of the country’s 14 Institutes of Technology in protest at what staff say is the damaging impact of funding cuts in the sector.
IT Tallaght’s website says the college will be open as normal, classes (both full-time and part-time) are timetabled as usual on that day but there is no guarantee that lecturers will attend. The strike is supported by the Union of Students in Ireland.
The TUI says student numbers have risen by one-third since 2008, but full-time staff numbers have fallen by almost 10%.
According to a lecturer from Cork Institute of Technology academic staff are going on strike because their jobs are becoming increasingly intolerable.
Dr Tom O’Connor said the casualisation of part-time lecturers and shortage of essential lab equipment, combined with a €190m cut to funding and an increase in students since 2008, have pushed staff to breaking point.
Speaking on RTÉ ‘s Morning Ireland Dr O’ Connor said that the country’s Institutes of Technology have an excellent reputation but they are being sabotaged by the cutbacks from central government.
“Our job for our students is becoming increasingly intolerable with the casualization of part-time lecturers the shortage of essential equipment in the labs.
€190m worth of cuts over the period between 2008-15 and [taken on] 24,400 more students it’s becoming breaking point and intolerable.”
The IOT’s have a great reputation of equipping students for the labour market and sometimes that means emigration… the lecturers have been doing excellent work, but they’re being sabotaged,” he added.
We want to eliminate casualisation of part-time workers in the IOT sector – lecturers who are being employed for short periods of time without proper pay and conditions who are living on poverty wages.
Some lecturers could be living on €10,000 to €15,000 a year and they are expected to come in and deliver a high quality service in a very competitive environment.
The mandate for strike action was huge with Teachers’ Union of Ireland members voting by 92 % to 8% in favour of industrial action in a national ballot.