60 GMIT staff face chop in cutbacks

Dr Fergal Barry, President of GMIT: briefing college departments.

Up to 60 staff of GMIT face the chop in a ‘downsizing’ plan to save money, the Galway City Tribune has learned.

Confusion reigns on the Dublin Road campus as to the exact number of employees of the college whose contracts will be terminated or not renewed over the next 12 months.

GMIT said its Governing Body has approved in principle 22 job losses by this Summer in order to plug gaps in the college’s budget.

However, at their most recent meeting last week, fresh proposals impacting between 40 and 60 employees were discussed, according to well-placed sources.

The additional job losses on top of the 22 could come later in the year or next year. The axe will fall on teaching and non-academic staff.

The plan was not agreed, and the Governing Body will meet again next Tuesday, May 3, a fortnight earlier than its scheduled monthly meeting.

GMIT President Fergal Barry has been holding ‘town hall’ meetings to brief different departments within the college. He also issued an email to all staff yesterday (Thursday).

The college needs to save between €1 million and €2 million, according to sources. Revenue growth of about €1 million is also targeted. Cuts and extra income generation measures are designed to deliver a budget surplus by 2020. GMIT has about 640 employees but under its employment control framework this is to be reduced to around 590.

A senior lecturer with knowledge of the plan said vulnerable staff are under threat. “They’re trying to get rid of people on short-term, temporary, rolling contracts. These are people who have been working away, keeping their heads down for the last two or three years, and keeping the show on the road up here. The reward for their loyalty and work is not reciprocated,” she said.

Another lecturer said the cuts to staffing levels will impact standards. He added: “These layoffs are an unprecedented development in the 40-years history of GMIT, and the Galway RTC and it will have huge implications for the quality of service provided to our students.”

GMIT did not respond to queries submitted by this newspaper this week.

For more details on the planned cutbacks, see this week’s Galway City Tribune