The ballot of Teachers Union of Ireland (TUI) members will close on December 11th. The results, which are expected to be in favour of industrial action, will be delivered within a few days of the deadline.
“Our expectation is that it will pass but it’s up to individual members. Then we can strategize how to have the best impact,” said Assistant General Secretary of the union, Aidan Kenny.
The union says that between 2008 and 2015 the number of students in ITs rose by 32 per cent while the number of lecturers in ITs fell by almost 10 per cent in the same period.
Mr Kenny said that ITs are now in “serious crisis” over cutbacks and the government have not shown “due regard or concern” in finding a solution.
“We’re being told austerity is over and there is additional funding available. It needs to be put in higher education,” he said.
The assistant general secretary also said that although strike action was possible it would be carried out with minimal disruption to students.
“There could be a one day strike, potentially but the lecturers’ primary focus is on students and trying not to interfere with student’s learning.”
Mr Kenny warned that the disproportionate levels of staffing and cuts to student services will damage the quality of the programmes.
“It’s been looked at as a sector that could survive cuts but it will damage the system,” he said.
Last Thursday, lecturers protested outside ITs at lunchtime to raise awareness of their concerns. With the ballot closing in less than a week, no further protests are planned at this time.