What is involved in taking strike action?

Strike action involves removing your labour by refusing to work on the day or days in question.


Who is eligible to take industrial action?

All EIS members employed by Edinburgh College.


Can you join the EIS today and still take part in the strike action?

Yes.  If you are eligible to take part in the strike action and as long as your fully completed application form and direct debit mandate have been received by EIS HQ prior to the day of action you can take part in the strike action. Join the EIS online now.


What is the effect on pay of taking strike action?

Strike action involves removing your labour by refusing to work on the day or days in question. If you withdraw your labour for a day then your employer has no obligation to pay you for that day. You will not be paid for the day you are out on strike. 


What is the effect on pay if the strike day is on a ‘short day', i.e. I am not contracted to work for the full day?

Staff paid on an hourly rate should expect to lose the payment for the hours they are contracted to work on the day or days in question. 


I’ve heard that we will get strike pay, what does this mean?

The EIS pays strike pay to members participating in strike action from the second day of action. The amount paid is half the amount of pay lost for all strike days taken by the member. Claim forms are issued by EIS HQ staff. 

In addition to this, members who are disproportionally affected by the strike dates may apply to the EIS Hardship Fund. For more information please contact your Branch Secretary.


Does a day of strike action count as a break in my continuity of employment?

No, being on strike does not break the continuity of service of any employee, including employees on temporary contracts. The Employment Rights Act provides that continuity of employment is not broken by strike action. 

In other words, any day on which an employee is on strike is not counted in the period of continuous employment but it does not break continuous employment.

Is a strike a breach of contract and could I be dismissed for taking part?

Yes a strike is a breach of contract, and in return the employer does not (normally) pay you.

You can’t be dismissed for industrial action if:

  • It’s called as a result of a properly organised ballot
  • It’s about a trade dispute between workers and their employer (eg about your terms and conditions)
  • A detailed notice about the industrial action (which is legally required) has been given to the employer at least 7 days before it begins

You can claim unfair dismissal at an employment tribunal if you’re dismissed for taking industrial action at any time within the 12 weeks after the action began. The EIS has met the 3 conditions set out above.


Do I have to inform my employer/head of department that I am going to take strike action?

The EIS notifies employers that our members are taking strike action; individuals are not required to do so. You have no obligation to inform your employer of your intention to take strike action. 


Do I have to inform my employer/line manager if I am not going to take strike action?

Your employer should inform you of any notification procedures to be followed in the event of you deciding not to take strike action. If this is your intention you should check with your employer.

However, we hope all members will support the democratic decision of the membership as a whole and demonstrate their professional commitment to colleagues by taking part in this strike action.  It is up to all of us to take action to protect our pay.


If I voted yes to strike in the ballot am I legally required to strike?

Voting to support industrial action in any ballot does not legally bind an individual to take action.  However, you should come out on strike to support the democratic decision of the membership as a whole and to demonstrate your professional commitment to colleagues who will also be taking part in the action.


Are any members exempt from taking strike action?

Exemptions are normally only granted in exceptional circumstances, for example in the case of a pregnant lecturer whose maternity rights might be negatively affected by taking strike action.


If I am sick on a day of strike action, what do I have to do?

It may be that the employer will suspend the right of individuals to report absent or to self-certify on strike days. It is likely that a staff absent from work may have to provide medical evidence of illness on that day or face the risk of an employer withholding pay. 


If I am on annual/maternity/paternity/family leave what do I have to do?

As you are on leave you cannot at the same time be on strike and should not lose pay.


What happens if I am job-share or part-time and I do not work on the day of strike action?

If it is not a working day for you then you cannot take strike action on that day.


What do I do on a strike day?

Your branch should be organising picket lines at the entrances for each campus, and reps will have rotas for picket line duty. We would encourage all members to take part in the picket line. 

There will also be a rally at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh on 2 March 2017 at 12noon.  Please get in touch with your branch secretary if you want to participate.


What does a picket line involve?

A picket line is a peaceful protest outside your workplace on the day(s) of strike action. This has several purposes – firstly, to encourage EIS-FELA members to support industrial action and to participate in the strike.

Secondly, it allows us to communicate the reasons for the strike to non-teaching staff, students and the general public and encourage support from those quarters.

A vibrant and enthusiastic picket line also demonstrates to management that the strike has the support of the staff. Remember that it will be cold (picket lines are always cold) and that you cannot go into the college to use the facilities, so you should consider other alternatives.  Be aware of your own safety if you are near a road or car entrance. 


If I am in my last year of work before retirement how will taking industrial action affect me?

Being on industrial action for 1 day will mean that your total pensionable service would be 1 day less. It would not affect the pensionable salary on which benefits are calculated. On a pensionable salary of £35,000 your annual pension will be £1.20 less. There is no additional loss/impact for those who are nearing retirement.


Will a day of strike action affect an application for "Winding-Down"?

It would be unusual for the SPPA to turn down a request for winding down on the basis of 1 day's missing service whether this be for industrial action or any other day of unpaid absence. Normally discretion would be used to allow the application to proceed. 

For more information on the Winding Down Scheme please see our Winding Down Scheme leaflet.  


I have been told that I can buy a day's pension after strike action. Is this correct?

The entitlement to buy back one day's pension only applies to those in Local Government Pension Schemes. It does not apply to those in the Scottish Teachers' Superannuation Scheme. However, by working an additional day beyond your intended retirement date, you will be able to make good the day's pensionable service.


How do I find out more information?

Keep visiting the EIS website for the most up-to-date information, or speak to your EIS Representative, Branch Secretary or contact the FE office at EIS HQ.