Dundalk IT staff consider strike over understaffing and overcrowded classrooms

The Teachers’ Union of Ireland is balloting its members on industrial action

Lecturers at Dundalk Institute of Technology (DkIT) are considering a strike as the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) ballots members on industrial action due to understaffing and overcrowded classrooms.

The industrial action follows discussions with management regarding understaffing, according to Chairperson of the DkIT branch of TUI, Kenneth Sloane, who says union members have requested that management improve staff planning in cases of retirement, maternity leave, and other absences.

“These requests for staff recruitment have not been meet with appropriate and timely action from DkIT Senior Management, and have resulted in serious disruption to the delivery of modules to students this semester, which include classes not being delivered for weeks in certain modules due to the failure to replace staff in specific skills areas,” Sloane stated.

Sloane also indicated that practical classes have been overcrowded, which he sees as a threat to the quality of education in DkIT.

Members are being balloted on whether to take “industrial action, up to and including strike action, on the issue of the failure of DkIT Senior Management to plan and conduct the necessary recruitment to ensure programmes can be delivered fully and students get the complete education to which they are entitled”.

A spokesperson for DkIT said it is “firmly committed” to providing high standards of education in their undergraduate and postgraduate programmes as well as to both students and staff wellbeing.

Lecturers from Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) and Institute of Technology, Carlow (IT Carlow) also intend to take industrial action over alleged lack of communication from management regarding the application process to become a Technological University. WIT TUI Branch Secretary Kathleen Moore Walsh said the lack of consultation with staff was “not acceptable to our members”.

In a statement to Trinity News, WIT President Willie Donnelly explained that WIT is “fully aware” of the proposed industrial action and noted that it is “committed” to working with TUI to find a resolution.