The General Secretary of the EIS has written to Colleges Scotland to question its refusal to meet with EIS-FELA negotiators ahead of this week's planned strike.
EIS-FELA has been seeking a negotiating meeting with Colleges Scotland for some time, in the hope of reaching a negotiated agreement on pay for college lecturers. However, Colleges Scotland has refused to meet with EIS-FELA negotiators until after the first strike day – and has now also cancelled this scheduled meeting, pushing negotiations even further into the month.
In his letter to Colleges Scotland, EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan said, "I write ahead of planned strike action by our FELA members to express my astonishment at the unwillingness of the College Management side to agree a meeting date ahead of the strike action, with a view to engaging in meaningful negotiations and possible avoiding the need for the strike to proceed."
"I understand that FELA negotiators have moderated our original cost of living claim which now matches the deal agreed with support staff unions and should provide the basis for agreement to be reached."
"That cannot happen, however, unless management is at least prepared to come to the table."
"Why wouldn’t you?"
"There is a cynical view abroad that there will be a cost saving arising out the strike, which colleges are keen to garner, or that an entrenched antagonism towards FELA has promoted a disregard for the impact on students of strike action. I subscribe to neither of those."
"My view is that, like me, College Principals are keen to see a negotiated settlement which avoids further strike action and disruption. I would urge, therefore, that even at this late stage Colleges Scotland agree to negotiations ahead of Wednesday and I would ask that you use your good offices and influence to promote this approach."