Industrial actions causes IT disruption ahead of graduations

Ciara O'Loughlin

Industrial action by library, clerical, and administrative staff has caused disuptions in ITs.

Institute of technology students across all campuses in Ireland are being affected by industrial action being taken by staff.

Since last week, library, clerical and administrative staff across the 14 institutes in the country have not been making or taking phone calls, responding to emails or video conferencing.

This has led to difficulties in the organisation of graduating ceremonies for thousands of students. DIT have two upcoming ceremonies on November 3rd and 17th, both of which could face disruption. Currently on the DIT website there is still no confirmation of the time the graduation ceremony for the school of Business, whose ceremony is on the 17th, will take place.

“It’s affected all the students in blanch [Blanchardstown IT] really bad because we can’t make appointments for anything. It’s so hard to get a hold of my thesis supervisor” said Néamh Maguire, a final year student in the Institute of Technology Blanchardstown.

“As no administration staff is replying to emails maybe some past students are having difficulty finding out more information on the ceremonies” she added.

However, it seems that many lecturers don’t know much about the industrial action being taken by the library, clerical and administrative staff.

In May 2015, a commitment was agreed as part of the negotiations that led to the Lansdowne Road agreement in relation to job evaluation for library, clerical, administrative and support grades.

According to Fórsa, the trade union which represents the staff in question, the industrial action has been on the line for over three years to ensure that this commitment is implemented.  This would secure the staff concerned a comprehensive job evaluation exercise. This initiative could lead to staff receiving a higher wage.

“I had to ask around [about the strike] but from what I can gather it’s some of the administrative staff that are on strike.  I don’t know what the strike is about or if it’s going to impact the graduations.” Patrick Dundas, an Assistant Professor in Manufacturing Technology in Limerick Institute of Technology, told The College View.

According to Blanchardstown IT’s website, graduation ceremonies will go ahead on November 9th. All schools on the campus have been given a time for their ceremony.

The Workplace Relations Commission held talks last week aiming to resolve the dispute between the Trade Union, Fórsa, and managements of the IT’s. However, they adjourned after a few hours.

According to The Irish Times, a spokeswoman for Fórsa said no date has been set for further talks and that industrial action will continue.


Ciara O’Loughlin

Image credit: Alison Clair