An internal industrial dispute in Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) may cause students to strike today, Tuesday 2nd February. The dispute, which has arisen over payments to lecturers for examinations, may cause exam results to be released later than scheduled.
The University Observer understands that the dispute is related to demands for payments relating to semesterisation. WIT only became semesterised at the beginning of the current academic year, meaning lecturers were expected to set and mark two sets of exams. However discord has arisen as most lecturers had been employed under terms relating to only one set of end of year exams. It is believed that lecturers had expected to receive additional payment in respect for the extra marking they were required to do. The lecturers have thus threatened to pursue industrial action against the institute through the local sector of the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI).
At the time of going to press, it was unclear what action the Students’ Union at WIT had decided to take against the possible delays in the release of examination results. A meeting of SU Council took place last night at which students were to decide what line of action was most appropriate to take.
Exam results were scheduled to be released today, 2nd February, but The University Observer understands that students may walk out of lectures in protest if delays occur in their results being released. However, at the time of going to press, WITSU President Cathy Pembroke was quick to emphasise that a course of action has not yet been decided upon, and that “WIT Students’ Union has been in constant contact with both parties and is bringing updates to students as they happen.”
The introduction of semesterisation has caused various logistical problems in many of Ireland’s larger third-level institutes. In 2005, UCD’s registration system was bombarded with confused users who were unsure of the new system and its various logistical problems, while many students found themselves unable to enrol in core modules due to timetabling conflicts. Trinity College Dublin has also experienced some difficulties having become semesterised this year.