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FELA Annual Conference 2017

  

The 2017 FELA Annual Conference was held in Glasgow on the 17th of March. Delegates from colleges across Scotland debated a range of Motions on issues such as fair pay, recruitment, National Bargaining, workload and FE funding.

Speakers at the Annual Conference included EIS-FELA President John Kelly, EIS-FELA Vice President Pam Currie, General Secretary Larry Flanagan and EIS President Margaret Smith.

 

Salaries and Conditions of Service 

 Motions  Resolutions

That this Conference notes that Scotland’s Colleges have failed to "honour the deal” struck in March 2016, by not consolidating the £100 flat rated element of the deal for 2015/2016. This Conference instructs the Executive to pursue this dispute by all means necessary including legal, political and industrial actions if necessary.

 Carried.

That this Conference resolves to write to all colleges every year prior to EIS-FELA salary negotiations with FOI requests for the lowest, highest and average Senior Management salary increase for the previous year including all bonuses, pension increment, additional payments of any kind. The information obtained should be relayed to the Executive prior to any pay claim being submitted.

 Carried.

That this Conference resolves that EIS-FELA campaign for a national standard for lecturer led academic tutorial time of 3 hours/full time course. This is in order to narrow the attainment gap and address the inequality of academic tutorial provision in FE Colleges and ensure there is equal access for academic tutor time.

Carried. 

That this EIS-FELA Annual Conference deplores the casualisation of the workforce in FE. It recognises the need to maintain professionalism and experience in a teaching staff and believes that the reliance on a fixed-term workforce runs counter to this. It requests the National Bargaining Negotiators to promote the importance of a permanent workforce rather than a reliance on fixed term lecturers, during their negotiations.

 Carried.

That this Conference resolves that the EIS seek to include the salary of the Principals and SMTs in National Bargaining to ensure fat cat salaries are curtailed and SMT salaries do not exceed twice the salary of a lecturer.

 Carried.

That this Conference resolves to organise a national EIS-FELA recruitment campaign targeting temporary and part time lecturers. This should have a particular focus on the benefits of union membership to part time employees and the benefits of membership to younger lecturers in precarious employment.

 Carried.

 

Education and Equality

Motions   Resolutions

That this Conference notes the serious reductions in service provided in FE for students with learning disabilities, who are not part of mainstream courses. This has included dramatic cuts in the numbers of lecturers with specialist qualifications to teach students with learning disabilities on non-mainstream courses. This Conference instructs the Executive to commission independent research into FE provision in Scotland for students with learning disabilities, with a view to highlighting the attacks on this service.

Carried. 

That this Conference notes with concern the potential under-representation of BME lecturers in FE, and resolves to undertake research to understand the issues affecting BME teaching staff in the sector including barriers to recruitment, retention and career progression.

 Carried.

That this Conference resolves that priority should be given to setting the maximum class size of 20 provided the classroom is of the required size. Schools in Scotland do not require pupils to sit on the floor because the class is too big for the room and too big to provide a safe learning experience and colleges should not be expected to do so either.

Carried. 

That this Conference affirms the need for professional recognition for the role of lecturers in Scottish Further Education, and recognises the relatively low take up of GTCS registration among FE lecturers in recent years. This Conference resolves that the Executive should review the options for professional recognition and registration of lecturers working or seeking to work in FE and bring recommendations before the membership in due course.

 Carried.

That this Conference resolves to explore potential routes for TQFE-qualified Further Education lecturers who wish to move to the schools sector to gain GTCS registration for Secondary Education.

 Carried.

That this Conference is concerned that lecturers in some FE colleges are coming under pressure to improve attainment levels of students, regardless of the actual quality of work submitted by the students. Further, Conference believes the inappropriate use of Key Performance Indicators within FE colleges is having a negative impact on the quality of education being delivered. Conference calls on the Executive to raise this matter with the Government at the earliest opportunity and demand an enquiry to ascertain how widespread these practises are and the impact they are having on the quality and reliability of teaching, learning and assessment.

 Carried.


 Miscellaneous

Motions  Resolutions 

That this Conference instructs the Executive to investigate the extent to which FE College Student Associations are truly ‘independent’ and to report its findings back to members.

 Carried.

That this Conference is concerned at the lack of transparency and comparability of the accounts of Scottish FE Colleges, across the sector. This Conference calls on the Executive to pursue this issue with the relevant national and regional bodies.

 Carried.

That this Conference notes the growing proportion of college funding derived from sources described as ‘commercial’. These ‘commercial’ contracts include a whole range of public sector bodies. This Conference calls for an EIS Freedom of Information request to all colleges asking them to detail the precise value of all such contracts from the public sector.

 Carried.

That this Conference deplores the attack on Further and Higher Education by the Scottish Government which has resulted in the continued reduction in funding for Further Education by 27% (in real terms) over three years and the consequent significant reduction in student places. This Conference calls upon the Executive to seek to raise the profile of these attacks through all means including a publicity and political campaign. Further, this Conference notes that these attacks are an attack on education for the working classes via second chance education for many who have been disadvantaged in the past.

 Carried.

That this Conference instructs Branch Officials to bring to the attention of their college management the importance of EIS Health & Safety advice with regards to appropriate working conditions of temperature, humidity, lighting and ventilation conducive to effective teaching and learning. Furthermore, if a lecturer is working in unacceptable environmental conditions, management must take remedial measures such as relocation and ensure that workplace conditions meet statutory requirements and provide a suitable working and learning environment within 1 hour of being notified of unacceptable environmental conditions. Lecturers should use their own discretion as to making a decision based upon students and their own well-being if appropriate remedial measures are not taken or remedial measures are ineffective.

 Carried.

That this Conference requests that visits to other FE trade unions and colleges across the EU are organised for volunteers from the Executive to learn more of trade union approaches, operations and best practice within the sector. This Conference requests the Executive to develop a strategy for linking with other FE trade unions internationally.

 Carried.

That this Conference notes the striking similarity between many new build FE colleges in Scotland and the range of concerns raised by teaching staff regarding Health and Safety, particularly the suitability and availability of teaching space. This Conference resolves to undertake a survey of reps in new build colleges to ascertain the extent of concerns and to collate and raise these with the SFC and other appropriate bodies.

 Carried.

That this Conference notes with concern the issue of stress amongst lecturers, and in particular the impact it has on teaching and learning and individual well-being. Further to this, it notes that this is likely to lead to a recruitment and retention issue in the sector. It asks that each Branch monitors closely the levels and impact of stress on the workforce and report on their findings to the Executive before the end of 2017.

 Carried.

That this Conference notes the sterling support of the EIS, along with other trade unions, has given for Stand Up to Racism initiatives in Scotland. This Conference calls for the EIS Annual Conference to debate a motion to affiliate to Stand Up to Racism. That this Conference also resolves to support the annual demonstration called by Stand Up to Racism for Saturday 18 March 2017 in Glasgow, and calls on the EIS to encourage members to attend, and to assist with transport costs.

 Carried.

That this Conference request that the EIS includes lecturer workload concerns as well teacher workload issues in its campaign.

 Carried.