St Angela’s voice concerns over NUIG merger

Staff at St Angela’s College Sligo have voted unanimously to ballot on industrial action, as the plans of a merger with NUI Galway continues to cause dispute.

Academic staff at the college say there has been a lack of consultation with their union representatives over the aspects of integration with NUIG, which is due to be in place next September.

Speaking after a staff meeting at St Angela’s, branch chairman of the TUI Brian O’Boyle said there was disappointment at the lack of representation made available to union negotiators. He also said that this was reflected in the result to ballot on industrial action.

“This sentiment was reflected in the unanimous decision to ballot for industrial action up to and including a strike” he explained.

St Angela’s provides third level education in nursing, education and home economics and since 2006, these courses have been accredited by NUIG.

It is understood that the concerns that are being raised by the staff are the future status of the home economics programme, the change from lecturer to university teacher status for the majority of the staff and the assurance of jobs not being transferred to the Galway campus. All of the staff at St Angela’s currently hold the position of lecturer.

One lecturer at St Angela’s told The Irish Times last week that she felt “let down” by St Angela’s management who already signed heads of agreement without the unions’ approval. President of St Angela’s college Dr Anne Taheny said discussions about the merger with NUIG are continuing.

In a statement, NUIG said the Government’s National Strategy for High Education required a change of the higher education sector “and NUIG is committed to implementing that strategy”. NUIG also said that university teachers and lecturers are parallel contracts with salary scales and promotion tracks being identical.

Aaron McElroy

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