Academic staff in the Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) have come out against a forced merger with the Institute of Technology Carlow (IT Carlow) and say they are prepared to take industrial action against any such move.
Members of the Teachers Union of Ireland (TUI) at the college have voted 94pc in favour of action.
A merger between two colleges is a Government pre-requisite for the establishment of a new-style technological university of the south east .
However there is considerable resistance within WIT to a link up with IT Carlow and the WIT governing body pulled the plug on merger talks last autumn.
But the Government, particularly Wexford-based Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin, is determined to see the plan through, and WIT has been told that in no uncertain terms.
Since the shock decision of WIT for withdraw from the merger process, there have been two significant departures from its senior ranks: former governing body chair government body, Donie Ormonde stepped aside after a meeting with Education Minister Jan O’Sullivan and president Ruaidhri Neavyn is being seconded to the Higher Education Authority at the request of the Department of Education.
The TUI branch at WIT says the college should be given the opportunity to apply in its own right for university designation.
Legislation to underpin the proposed new technological universities is to go through the Dail this year and the TUI is mounting a campaign against the requirement that institutes should have to merge in order to apply for technological university status.
TUI members in Cork IT and IT Tralee are also opposed to a merger of those colleges .
A proposal for a technological university in Dublin, involving DIT and the institutes of technology in Tallaght and Blanchardstown, is at an advanced stage of planning.