Members of the Argyll College EIS-FELA branch are being balloted for strike action over the College’s decision to make lecturers compulsorily redundant during the pandemic.
The EIS-FELA branch states that the College has not genuinely sought to avoid compulsory redundancies in terms of their redundancy policy as the decision was already made when those at risk were told. These redundancies will place the future of the Rothesay campus in jeopardy and end SVQ Hairdressing courses within the College.
The objective of the ballot and any forthcoming industrial action is to reverse the College’s decision on instigating compulsory redundancies by re-instating the lecturers and committing to a no compulsory redundancy policy.
The EIS was hopeful that they could share meaningful discussions with the College to resolve the dispute but, so far, Argyll College Board of Management has rejected the EIS request to reverse their decision and stop compulsory redundancies within the College.
An indicative ballot earlier this month put support for strike action at 76% with 82% turnout. This statutory strike ballot opened on Friday 26th March and closes on Thursday 15th April. It comes one day after lecturers at Argyll College took strike action over the ongoing national dispute to replace lecturers with instructor assessors.
Kyla Steele, EIS-FELA branch secretary at Argyll College, said “We only just got organised into a union branch late last year. For two decades lecturers at Argyll College have felt like outliers in the Further Education sector in Scotland. That is all changing. These are the first compulsory redundancies in the sector since national bargaining was introduced in 2015 and we can’t let them happen here. We need to support each other - our colleagues and communities - in these difficult times.”
Larry Flanagan, EIS General Secretary, said “Argyll College receives the majority of its funding from the public purse therefore they should be benchmarking against the Scottish Government’s Public Sector Pay Policy and commitment to no compulsory redundancies. This is compounded by the fact that staff should not be suffering COVID-related detriment which we believe this is. The staff are paying the price for student numbers having fallen in 2020.”