Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

Why seek Technological University designation?

The achievement of designation as the Munster Technological University is a key strategic goal for CIT and ITT. Based on international research, the business case and the economic impact study developed as part of our stage two submission to the HEA international panel we expect that university designation will deliver enhanced employability and international mobility to students and graduates through greater recognition of their qualifications. In addition the staff of the MTU will experience better and more career opportunities. The MTU will have a substantial economic impact on the region and will contribute both to direct economic activity and economic development. The economic impact study has conservatively assessed that the MTU will deliver an annual economic contribution to the region in excess of €285m.

Will courses be shut down and/or moved to Tralee or Cork?

In seeking designation as the MTU our goal is to create a university which will be greater than the sum of CIT and ITT, not lesser. Our two institutions share an ethos and proud history of serving the needs of our communities and providing inclusive access to educational opportunities for individuals from all backgrounds and social groups.

There will continue to be full provision of courses and services at the campuses in Cork and Kerry. provision of courses at all levels from apprenticeship to PhD in both Cork and Kerry. Furthermore, the student services available and the overall student experience in both Cork and Kerry will be comparable. Under no circumstances will it result in the closing of programmes and students having to travel to Cork or Kerry to access a programme that was previously available at their home campus.

Will points for courses increase as a result of becoming a University?

The achievement of Technological University designation will not automatically lead to increases in CAO entry points. CAO points for courses are determined year to year based on the supply and demand for a particular course. As is the case with any course on offer currently within the CAO, when a course is in high demand then the entry points will tend to rise and vice versa. The process is independent of whether an institution is a university or not. Currently we have courses which, due to their quality and popularity, have higher entry points than courses in universities.

Technological University designation will not create a barrier to access. Our two institutions have and continue to be thoroughly committed to providing inclusive access to educational opportunities for individuals from all backgrounds and social groups. As the MTU we will continue to ensure that our programmes, our campuses and our other services are available in an inclusive manner to all in the communities and region we serve.

Will staff be made redundant or forced to move to Tralee or Cork?

We fully understand that a change of this magnitude brings with it issues and concerns for students, staff and other stakeholders. We have sought to provide adequate clarification and assurances to address these concerns. We would like to provide these assurances again here:

  • There will be no compulsory redundancies.
  • There will be no compulsory redeployment.
  • There will be no reduction in the number or type of courses offered.
  • Lecturers or students will not need to travel between Cork and Kerry to deliver or attend lectures and classes.
  • All national agreements will be honoured in full by the MTU.
  • Any changes to existing contracts (terms and conditions) will only happen following negotiation and agreement (preferably at a national level) with the relevant trade unions.

We have engaged with all stakeholders throughout and established formal industrial relations fora with trade unions.

Despite this engagement we recognise that significant issues remain and accept the role that institutional management have played in the ongoing concerns of academic staff. In seeking a resolution to the issues raised to date we have engaged fully with the industrial relations processes and we remain committed to taking all and any measures required to address the issues and create a way forward.

Staff Questions

The following sections address the actual questions posed by staff via the Union representatives in both ITT and CIT.

Note: During the process, similar questions arose. All have been captured in this document. For some questions, where a similar question has been answered previously, the relevant answer has been referenced in the response.

General questions from staff about the MTU and/or Merger

1 Overview

1.1What have the Administrative, Technical and Support Staff to gain by becoming part of the MTU? 

Technological University Status will allow the larger organisation to grow and develop and this in turn will create opportunities for career advancement.

1.2 Will organisational changes come first before we streamline our processes?

No. During the transitional period we will commence the process of streamlining our processes before we merge the two institutions. Post-merger there will be a high level of reconciliation work which will last for another six months.

1.3 Will there be 2 Presidents when we merge and/or become a TU?

The MTU will be a single institution with a single, Governing Body, one President, one Executive Board, one Academic Council, etc.

1.4 Will there be two Institute Executive Boards or will they merge also? 

Please refer to question 1.3 for answer

1.5 The Expert Panel Recommendation:  Were they taken into consideration and implemented?

The terms of reference of the Expert Panel were to give an opinion as to whether the MTU Proposal has credible and reasonable and likely to meet the criteria for designation. In giving a positive opinion the expert group gave advisory notes and comments. Many of the points raised were already part of our advance planning, have contributed to the structure of the project and its operation, other recommendations are being considered in consultation with the HEA.

2 Structure

2.1 Will administrative and technical functions such as IT, HR, the International Office, Exams etc., be required to merge and locate in one campus only?

As part of the MTU Project a number of Working Groups, which will include members of staff with the relevant knowledge and expertise, will be established to manage and implement the process of merger. The Working Groups will review the functions and processes and determine the best approaches in terms of organisation, processes, etc. Our expectation (as set out in the Stage 2 submission to the HEA) is that the main function will be based in a central location at the most appropriate campus and a smaller administrative unit will be located at the other locations.

2.2 If a function is located solely on one campus and that key members of staff on the sister campus are no longer involved in that function, is there a risk that key information relating to the operation of the function may not be picked up, thus leading to operational problems?

The main work of planning and implementing the various aspects of the merger will be carried out by MTU Project Working Groups. For example there will be a Student Administration & Support Working Group which will plan and implement all aspects of the delivery of student sdministration and support services for the MTU. The working groups will be made up of the relevant management and staff from both institutions. In addition the Working Groups, as part of their programme of work, will consult with staff and students to ensure they have all the relevant information. The Working Groups will devise, plan and implement the delivery of services for the MTU. As part of this process they will also determine the preferred structure (i.e. location of offices, staff, etc.) for the delivery of the services.

The structures as proposed by each Working Group will be combined by the Working Group on Governance & Structures which will develop the overall strucutre for the MTU. When the preferred structures from different Working Groups are considered there may be practicalities or issues which require modification of the proposed structures.

Meaningful consultation with staff and management will take place at all stages of this process. Ultimately the MTU Programme Governance Board will make the final decisions in respect of the governance and structure of the MTU and each of its service units and functional areas.

In general people will not be required to move but the Working Groups will work to ensure the best use of existing skills and knowledge. Delivery of the particular function to students or staff will determine location. Other than in a very specialised function it’s unlikely that a function will be entirely located in one campus. Almost all functions need to be delivered to some extent in each campus.

2.3 Head/Sub-Offices:  Regarding various functions, e.g. Exams, Buildings & Estates, Wages & Salaries, Admissions, etc., will there be a Head Office in either Cork/Tralee campus with a Sub-Office in the other?  If so, what are the criteria and who will decide and will staff be consulted? 

Please refer to question 2.2 for answer

2.4 Will TU status affect the delivery of Music currently provided by the CSM to primary and secondary school children?

As music and art are not currently delivered by Tralee the merger should not affect current provision. Also, the NMCI is a national facility and will remain so in the new entity. The merger will not affect the delivery of music to first and second level children.

2.5 Do you envisage any changes to the CIT constituent Schools and Colleges (CSM, CCAD, NMCI) when we merge with Tralee? 

Please refer to question 2.4 for answer

2.6 What are the plans for courses if numbers are dropping in one campus and doing well in the other campus?

The viability of a programme suffering a drop in numbers has to be given serious consideration. This is currently the practice in both CIT and ITT and will remain as so regardless of whether we merge or not. However, it is anticipated that TU status will increase our student numbers in both campuses.

2.7 What are the future development plans for courses i.e. new courses will they be run across both campuses or run in one campus only?

The MTU will continue to grow and develop its course offerings and depending on the focus of the course and the likely student demand decisions will be made (on a course by course basis) as to whether a course will run at one campus or the other, or both. It is our intention to continue to develop and deliver new programme across all campuses.

2.8 Are we under any disadvantage of not having Senior Techs in ITT prior to the merger?

We do not believe that this situation will give rise to any disadvantage. This will be considered by the relevant Working Groups which we hope to set up very shortly. Consultation with the unions will be ongoing throughout these discussions.

2.9 What will the structure of the IT Department look like after the merge?

Information Technology will be an essential enabler of the MTU and it will play a vital role in allowing multi-campus MTU to operate effectively. The goal will be to develop a single IT infrastructure which (given the physical distance between campuses) will have centralised and geographically distributed elements. The relevant Working Groups will analyse the requirements and structure of the new IT systems and infrastructure, and the team of people required to support the systems and infrastructure into the future. Following the analysis and stakeholder consultation a detailed implementation plan will be developed and will be implemented on a rolling basis over a more extended period.

2.10 What services are earmarked for each campus?

Please refer to question 2.2 for answer

3 Processes

3.1 Overall there will be opportunities to improve our practice but where different practices exist between the two Institutes, what strategy will be used to identify best practice?

The relevant Working Groups will analyse and devise the best approach. The working groups will consist of staff working in the specific area so in-depth knowledge and experience with direct the project. The MTU Project Office will provide support and expertise, where necessary, to assist the Working Groups in completing this work. A detailed plan for the integration of the various services will be prepared and implemented.

3.2 There seem to be differences in the way each Institute operates within different functions – for example at a recent meeting between CIT and ITT Student Services, we realised there were some important differences in how we operate.  So, will the initial strategy be to streamline practices across the two ITs?

The initial strategy will be to integrate as much as is possible and practical in the first instance and put detailed plans in place for further integration over a short period of time post-merger.

3.3 What factors would influence the decision to locate a function in one particular campus only?

Please refer to question 2.2 for answer

4 Outsourcing

4.1 Are there any plans to outsource current resources as part of the merger or future plans to outsource?

There are no plans to outsource current functions or processes.

4.2 Will the outsourcing of any service to the cloud be undertaken?

Decisions of this nature are ongoing operational issues and will be considered outside the merger process.

4.3 Will union member agreement be reached prior to any testing or proof of concept of any cloud based services? 

The unions (TASS Group) will be consulted prior to any proposed changes being suggested.

5 Funding

5.1 What funding has been put in place for the merger?

To date funding received approximately €1m with a further €1.2 alocated by the HEA in June 2016 agreed as part of the Stage 4 process. We expect that there will be further funding provided in future years.

The consortium is in ongoing discussions with the HEA regarding projected programme costs. We are confident the level of direct funding which we have sought will be made available.

5.2 What ongoing funding if any, will be made available for the process?

Please refer to question 5.1 for answer

5.3 Can we expect further cuts to funding for Higher Education?

Funding to HE is being discussed at national level and with be up to the minister to decide. No further cuts have been indicated and we await the outcome of the recently published Peter Cassells Report (June 2016).

5.4 Are there any talks taking place on changing the funding model to higher education?

Some discussions have taken place between the various TU consortia and the relevant national bodies regarding the funding model for Technological Universities.

6 Legal

6.1 Management has said that “we have no interest in merger without TU designation”.  However, the merge has to take place first, separately.  What happens if both institutes merge and then TU does not happen for whatever reason?

We will only merge when we are certain that we meet the criteria for designation. This remains our position and we have reiterated this position at the recent meeting with the HEA. In addition we are in continued discussions with the relevant bodies regarding approaches to minimise or remove any potential gap between merger and designation.It is vital for students that this gap be minimised. We have stated that we will only merge if we are fully confident that we will be awarded TU status within a year.

6.2 Will the name of the Institute change when we merge and has the name for TU been agreed?

According to the published legislation the name of the new university and the merged institution will be determined by the minister. We are confident that the Munster Technological University title will be approved as this is now in general usage by DES and Government ministers.

6.3 If we don’t get TU status can we not be merged with Tralee and go back to being CIT/ITT?

Please refer to question 6.1 for answer

6.4 If the TUI continue their industrial action how far can the merger process go without their involvement?  

The merger is dependent on legislation.The TUI action in relation to technological universities is now national and the government have committed to further consultation prior to enactment of the legislation. We can set up the project office and staffing which will enable us to set up the (non-academic) working groups.There is a considerable amount of work to be done and agreements to be reached with the non-academic areas.

7 Policies

7.1 Policies may exist in one Institute but not the other, such as flexitime.  There may be ‘unwritten’ policies, relating to ‘time in lieu’   or one Institute may allow more discretion in certain circumstances such as compassionate leave.  Will these policies be unified before the merger?

All policies already agreed and implemented in each institute will be reviewed and aligned. They will then be consolidated to form the official policies for the merged institute. Where discrepancies and different “ad hoc” agreements exist they will be considered and consultation will take place with the Unions. The agreed consolidated policies and practices will be implemented in the MTU.

7.2 While they say there will be no redeployments is this only during the pre-merger and merge phases, are these assurances given post-merger?

The Lansdowne Road Agreement protects public servants from redeployment beyond 45km. As the distance between both institutes is further than 45km redeployment will not be an issue.

8 Communication and Consultation

8.1 Will staff within the functions be consulted on how the merged ITT and CIT function would work? If so, what form will this consultation take?

Throughout the MTU project staff will be consulted through the project Working Groups, through general staff meetings, and by their respective unions.

8.2 What was discussed and what is being proposed?  Will all IMPACT Members have an input to draft documents, not just TAS Union reps?  

Staff have been seconded to work as Industrial Relations Facilitators. Part of their remit is to meet with members of all Unions and update them on progress on a regular basis. They are also available to meet with any member or groups of members to discuss proposals and draft documentation.

Specific questions about staff and structures

9 Terms and Conditions

9.1 Management has stated that “staff (apart from members of senior management.......) will not be required to routinely travel between the two campuses as part of their day to day duties”.  Does this imply that it may be required sometimes but not ‘routinely’?

Staff will not be required as part of the day to day work to travel from one campus to another. However, attendance at meeting(s) may be required but this is unlikely to be a significant requirement. Most meetings can be facilitated by tele/video conferencing.

9.2 If redeployments cannot be guaranteed going forward into the future, what agreement will be used for redeployments?

Public servants terms and conditions are determined by national agreements i.e. the Haddington Road and Lansdowne Road Agreements. After the merger staff terms and conditions will continue to be governed by national contracts and agreements. The Technological Universities Act (currently in draft form) will govern the legal terms of the change from two separate institutions to a single merged institution. In accordance with the draft legislation you will become an employee of MTU but will retain your existing contract and terms and conditions. MTU employees will continue to receive/sign existing, nationally agreed, contracts of employment.

9.3 Will we be expected to sign new contacts under the new MTU entity at any stage in the future (post-merger)? (answer with 2 above and make it question number 1)

Please refer to question 9.2 for answer

9.4 If we don't, under what legalisation/agreement is this based on?  (answer with 2 & 3 above)

Please refer to question 9.2 for answer

9.5 If someone gets promoted post-merger ie to senior tech will they need to sign a new contract under the MTU entity? 

Please refer to question 9.2 for answer

9.6 If someone becomes a Technical Officer due to progression post-merger will they be expected to sign a new contract under the MTU entity?

Please refer to question 9.2 for answer

9.7 Can all CID's be moved to a permanent contract?

All contracts will carry over as they are currently. CID are equal to permanency and afford the same protections of employment and terms and conditions.

10 Pensions

10.1 Will my pension be affected/altered by the merge and TU?

Public service super-annuation pensions will not be affected/altered as a result of the merger.

11 Structure

11.1 Where a CIT and ITT function merge, will the current staff in these functions need to re-apply for the posts in the new amalgamated office?

It is hoped that there will be very little change to staffing in a functional area but in the event of duplication of staff consultation will commence on reassignment. It is hoped that new opportunities will emerge and existing staff will be offered the opportunity to be assigned to these posts. 

11.2 If a function is moved from CIT to ITT or vice versa, what happens to the CIT staff based within this function (the President has mentioned there is no compulsory redeployment or redundancy)?

The LRA agreement protects staff from compulsory redundancy. Reassignment (within the same location) will be offered in the first instance and a transfer policy will be the mechanism used for fairness, openness and transparency. Regarding redeployment please refer to question 7.2 for answer.

11.3 What is the difference between reassignment and redeployment? 

As per the terms of national agreements (i.e. the Croke Park Agreement), reassignment refers to a transfer within the employees’ current place of employment/location, either to suitable posts at their own grade or at an analogous grade for which the employee has the necessary skills, qualifications and competencies. Redeployment refers to a transfer to another place of employment/location to a suitable post at their own grade or at an analogous grade.

11.4 For example, if a staff member’s current post no longer exists due to the amalgamation of a function, can they be required to take a lower grade at the lower rate of pay? 

In the unlikely event that no suitable position is currently available a member of staff may be asked to undertake different duties but they will retain their current pay and conditions. This is also protected under national agreements (i.e. the LRA).

11.5 Will promotional opportunities be limited unless staff are prepared to be redeployed?

It will depend on the demand for staffing and particular specialisations within the individual functional areas. Specific requirements will only come to light when the working groups commence and the project plan develops. As stated previously it will be reassignment in the first instance.

11.6 Management has stated that “there will be no compulsory redundancies as a result of the MTU project”. Does this imply that there may be voluntary redundancies? 

There is no agreed voluntary redundancy package on offer and it is not envisaged that there will be a need for redundancies to take place.

11.7 What promotional opportunities will there be for current staff when we become a TU?

TU status will afford the institution to grow, develop and diversify. This in turn will create promotional opportunities for staff and diversification in career paths. Staff will be afforded the opportunity to upskill and retrain to meet new needs.

11.8 Will current contracts be renewed or will they be left lapse and not renewed - this can be seen as having no job losses as the contract is ending?

Contracts will be renewed in accordance with service requirement.

11.9 The MTU preparation and migration work from an IT perspective will be considerable, what additional staffing will be provided to ensure that people do not have to endure additional work loads and stress?

Where staff shortages are evident agreement will be reached on additional staffing at all stages during the project. As this is to facilitate the merger process temporary additional staff may be hired for this purpose only. We have been provided with funding to ensure that proper backfill and other support arrangements are put in place.

12 Agency Staff and Contractors

12.1 Will agency staff be brought in pre or post-merge if there is a need for more staff?

We may consider temporary agency staff but only in the context of the MTU project.

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