DkIT strike action called off as management pledge to work towards TU status

Calum Atkinson

Image Credit: Wikimedia

Planned strike action by staff at the Dundalk Institute of Technology has been called off after management committed to pursue Technological University status.

The Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) said their strategic objectives had been secured. “Written commitments were made by DkIT management regarding the Teachers’ Union of Ireland’s concerns, including a written commitment to achieving Technological University status and an immediate engagement in the Technological University process,” said a statement by the TUI. 

99.1 per cent of the 300 staff at DkIt that are represented by the TUI  had backed the industrial action.

Speaking to Talk of the Town, Dundalk IT President Dr Michael Mulvey said, “We are pleased to have reached a fair and considered agreement with the TUI which has resulted in the lifting of the proposed industrial action. 

“Consensus was achieved through open and meaningful dialogue with TUI members and all actions were mutually agreed in the best interest of the institute,” he continued.

As well as agreeing to pursue Technological University status, DkIT management agreed to the withdrawal of a planned proposal to create a fifth academic school, a plan “sprung unilaterally and without consultation,” according to the TUI.

Further commitments were made by management to facilitate better consultation with staff. Concerns over the functioning of management bodies were also addressed.

Labour Party senator Ged Nash raised the issues cited by DkIT staff to the Minister for Higher Education in the Oireachtas. 

After the dispute was resolved, Nash said he was “proud to have worked with the TUI to have the issues at the heart of the dispute addressed.” He continued, “Dundalk, Louth and our region need a Technological University, let’s make it happen.”

January 2019 saw the first Technological University established in Dublin. Technological Universities will eventually replace the 14 Institutes of Technology around the country. 

DkIT are well behind others in this transition process. “All of Ireland’s institutes of technology are taking the next steps; all except DkIT are progressing towards Technological University status,” said the DkIT student’s union.

“Institutes of Technology with smaller populations than us here in Dundalk are ready to reap the benefits of Technological University education. By remaining outside of the process, DkIT has already been disadvantaged, having been locked out of a potential 6.4 million euro slice of the recently announced 90 million euro TU transformation fund,” they said.

Calum Atkinson

Image Credit: Wikimedia