Thursday, 28 January 2016
Technological Universities Bill 2015: Report Stage (Resumed)
I wish to make only a couple of points because we have discussed this on Committee Stage and yesterday with the Minister. If mergers, the technological universities principle and what is being proposed here are to work, the process will require the support of all the stakeholders. The staff are vital in this regard. Staff are extremely critical of the proposal, and there is a lot of opposition from them. When the Minister of State says there was engagement with staff, I say it could not have been meaningful and real. If it had been, the issues of the staff would have been taken on board and we would not be noting the extent of the opposition to what is being proposed. Staff are not being included. Unless they are included and listened to, this merger will not work and we will see a further escalation of industrial unrest.
As it stands, the merger is being imposed. When mergers and such arrangements are imposed on people, they are just starting off on the wrong footing. It was stated we can come back to this at a later stage but, unless we get it right in the beginning, it will be disastrous at later stages. Later stages will be futile and very difficult.
We know about the opposition and criticism, and we note their extent in the content of the amendments before us. There is a disconnect in that, although we have engaged, the stakeholders are saying they have not been engaged with and that they have just received briefings at which they were given information. I ask again that this matter be examined in the best interest of what is being proposed. People are in agreement with the concept of technological universities but the way the arrangement has been imposed on staff at this stage will lead to much unrest.