College lecturers across Scotland will today take part in a fourth day of strike action as part of a long-running pay dispute.
Lecturer members of the Educational Institute of Scotland – Further Education Lecturers’ Association (EIS-FELA) are campaigning for a fair cost of living increase, in line with current public sector pay policy. Lecturers have not had a cost of living pay rise since April 2016. However, the employers’ association, Colleges Scotland, has offered what amounts to a consolidated uplift of only 2% over a 3-year period for the majority of our members, while also seeking to tear-up existing commitments on lecturers’ working conditions.
In an escalation of the dispute, EIS-FELA is also in the midst of a statutory ballot on industrial action short of strike. Should members vote in favour of the action, the escalating action will include a boycott of college results systems and a withdrawal of goodwill. This action would run concurrently with the ongoing programme of strike action.
Last week, delegates at the EIS-FELA Annual General Meeting unanimously backed a Vote of No Confidence in the management body, Colleges Scotland, following its failure to negotiate in good faith towards a fair pay settlement.
EIS-FELA President Pam Currie said, “College Scotland’s offer falls far short of public sector pay policy, and now they have suggested that we sacrifice terms and conditions in order to make a deal. We do not want to take strike action, boycott results or withdraw our goodwill. We work in Further Education because we care about our students and want them to have the best possible college experience.
“However, this is the last resort available to us if we are to protect our terms and conditions, secure a fair cost of living pay rise and protect national bargaining, not only now but in years to come.”
EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan said: “EIS-FELA members have stood strong and united throughout this strike while Colleges Scotland has shown it is unwilling to engage in meaningful negotiations. It is especially disappointing that Colleges Scotland failed to accept the EIS offer to suspend strike action earlier this month and again this week. This decision led to a new ballot which may further escalate this dispute. With Colleges Scotland unwilling to negotiate a fair pay settlement, it is now time for the Scottish Government to step in to facilitate a negotiated agreement.”
A copy of an EIS Parliamentary briefing on the dispute, sent to all MSPs last week, is attached for information.