College lecturers have voted overwhelmingly to strike over pay, in a ballot organised by EIS-FELA.
The move to strike action follows on from protracted discussions on a pay offer, and comes as a result of the failure of college management to offer a fair cost of living pay increase to Further Education lecturers.
Turnout in the ballot was 52%, with 90% of those voting backing the move to strike action. Both the turnout and the vote in favour of strike action are well above the highly restrictive thresholds set by the UK Government in its anti-trade union legislation, the Trade Union Act, which came into force last year.
Commenting, EIS-FELA President Pam Currie said, "EIS-FELA members have voted overwhelmingly for strike action in pursuit of a fair cost of living pay award. We are taking this action as a last resort, as the result of management's unwillingness to negotiate a fair offer."
"Lecturers do not take strike action lightly, and we have done everything that we can over the past two years of talks to attempt to reach a fair negotiated settlement. We have repeatedly sought to engage management in meaningful negotiations and formally submitted a revised claim based on public sector pay policy in line with the offer made to support staff."
"Even at this late stage, we hope that college management will now come back to the table to begin meaningful negotiations and deliver a cost of living increase similar to others in the public sector."
EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan added, "EIS-FELA members are asking only for a fair cost of living increase, and this has been refused by management side negotiators. Today's resounding ballot result is a clear indication of the frustration and anger that our members are feeling."
"College management has dragged this process out for two years, using the delivery of equal pay across the sector as a barrier to negotiation and using conflated figures in publicity to obfuscate the pay claim. Apparently, one college has even mis-used a learning platform to communicate what appears to be inaccurate and misleading information about the dispute directly to students."
"It is time for college management to learn a lesson from the past, and avoid the strike action by returning with a fair cost of living offer for Scotland's Further Education lecturers. The sector needs stability and meaningful negotiation is the best way to deliver this."
Strike dates will be announced in due course.