A strike planned by staff at Dundalk Institute of Technology for next week has been called off, having been originally scheduled to go ahead on Tuesday November 19. Management at the institute of technology have conceded to union demands, namely to include staff in consultations about the future direction of the institution, to apply for technological university status and to halt plans for a new academic school within the college.
The Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) said that their objectives had been met, so strike was no longer necessary.
On Friday, the union said that Dundalk IT had sent written commitment that they would attempt to achieve technological university status, one of their chief demands.
They also received confirmation that the plans to build a fifth school would be halted. The TUI had argued that this would bring about a “‘high cost / low quality model’ of educational provision”, that is against the ethos of DkIT of providing good quality, affordable, and accessible third level education. They claimed that they had not been consulted in the original proposal.
The TUI said that they received assurances that in the future there would be a mechanical process for consultation between management and staff. Union members had previously argued that leaders of DkIT have tried to “suppress open discussion in the Institute’s forums”, and were becoming “autocratic” in their management.
Commenting on the situation, the TUI said: “This is a significant step in protecting the future of higher education provision in the region, and securing the economic, cultural and social benefits that university status will generate for the North East.”
Labour Party senator Ged Nash, who raised the issue in the Seanad on Wednesday with the Minister for Higher Education said: “We wouldn’t have reached this point if it were not for the decision by lecturers and researchers at Dundalk Institute of Technology to take industrial action.
“As a result of the action planned for Tuesday and political intervention this week, management has now changed course and has committed to pursuing Technological University status for Dundalk Institute of Technology and importantly within an agreed timeframe.”
“This is a very welcome development for the Institute and for the socio-economic future of Dundalk and the wider region,” she added.