Thursday 17 March 2016

Further Education Lecturers at colleges across Scotland are on strike today (Thursday 17 March) as a campaign for fair pay and pay equality in Scotland’s colleges escalates.

The initial day of strike action follows a recent statutory ballot carried out by the EIS for members in its Further Education Lecturers’ Association. Nationally, 88% of those voting in the ballot backed the move to strike action, on a turnout of 61%.

The programme of strike action is scheduled to continue until the summer, escalating to two and then three days per week, if no resolution is reached in the pay dispute.

Commenting on the start of strike action, EIS General Secretary said, "Lecturers are taking this action as a last resort, following the failure of college management to offer a fair deal on pay equality.

"Management side negotiators have dragged their feet for well over a year, before finally making a completely unacceptable pay offer that fails to make any attempt to address pay inequities across the sector.

"Some colleges have refused to take part in negotiations at all, highlighting the non-delivery of a national bargaining process that was promised to lecturers by colleges and the Scottish Government. The recent threat by colleges to impose their unfair offer on lecturers was the final straw, and has forced EIS-FELA members into this strike action today.”

EIS-FELA President John Kelly added, "The Scottish Government and college management promised a return to national bargaining in the college sector, and the creation of fair national pay scales for lecturers.

"After a year and a half of negotiations, neither of these commitments has been met and colleges now intend to impose a pay settlement that would widen, rather than narrow, pay inequity across the sector.

"We hope that our support-staff colleagues, students and the wider community will understand our reasons for taking this action as we seek a fair pay settlement and delivery of the promises that were made to lecturers.”

Picket lines will be in place at colleges across Scotland from Thursday morning. EIS-FELA President John Kelly and General Secretary Larry Flanagan will be on the picket line at West College Scotland (former Reid Kerr college) on Thursday morning, and will be available for interview.

A national EIS-FELA lobby will be held at the Scottish Parliament on Thursday, from 1pm. Speeches will be made by prominent EIS members and by MSPs from a range of Scottish political parties.