EIS Calls on Scot Govt & College Employers Scotland to Act Now to Avert Strike Action

Created on: 01 Sep 2023

The EIS has called on the Scottish Government and College Employers Scotland to take definitive action to ensure that college lecturers receive a fair and fully funded pay award.

College Employers Scotland have made clear to negotiators from the EIS-Further Education Lecturers Association (EIS-FELA) that their current offer would be funded through significant job losses across the publicly funded further education sector.

EIS-FELA members have been engaged in industrial action short of strike (ASOS), in the form of a resulting boycott and work to contract, since May 2023 and should have received their pay award one year ago.

Without an acceptable and fully funded offer, the EIS-FELA membership will escalate their industrial action campaign to include national and rolling strike action, alongside targeted strike action in the constituencies of key Scottish Government ministers, including the First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education.

As politicians from the Scottish Government and all other parties at Holyrood return from the summer recess, EIS-FELA intends to take the campaign for a fully funded and fair pay award directly to parliament, with a rally planned outside the Scottish Parliament to coincide with the first FMQs of the new session.

College Employers Scotland have also this week refused a request made by the EIS to extend the current industrial action mandate. In the absence of such agreement from College Employers Scotland, the EIS has continued with the implementation of a national re-ballot for both action short of strike and strike action that has opened today (Thursday 31st August 2023).

Commenting, EIS General Secretary Andrea Bradley, said, "Time is running out, on both the Scottish Government and College Employers Scotland, to avert the escalation of the crisis in Scotland’s colleges. No group of workers, least of all those in public sector institutions, should be told by their employers that they must sacrifice jobs to finance an already unacceptable pay offer.

"College Employers Scotland have yet to offer evidence that they have made clear to the Scottish Government that any acceptable pay award must be fully funded.

"The Scottish Government too must end its intransigence and avert this crisis by ensuring that no pay offer to hard working college lecturers is financed by job losses. EIS-FELA members are prepared to take substantial strike action, on top of action short of strike, in pursuit of a fully funded and fair pay award. They do so with the full backing of the EIS behind them."

EIS-FELA President, Anne-Marie Harley, said, "College lecturers should have received a fair pay award a year ago and have been forced into the unacceptable situation of escalating their industrial action to a wide-ranging programme of strike action, including targeted strike action in the constituencies of Scottish Government ministers.

"We do so alongside a re-ballot of our members to ensure that we can continue this fight for fair pay for as long as it takes. EIS-FELA will never trade jobs for pay and both College Employers Scotland and the Scottish Government must act swiftly to avert strike action through providing a fully funded a fair pay award for college lecturers that does not result in job losses."

A full programme of strike action is provided below:

  • Thursday 7th September: National strike Day.

Rolling Action Week One:

  • Monday 11th September: New College Lanarkshire and Orkney College.
  • Tuesday 12th September: Glasgow Clyde College and Sabhal Mor Ostaig.
  • Wednesday 13th September: Forth Valley College and UHI Moray.
  • Thursday 14th September: Glasgow Kelvin College and NESCoL.
  • Friday 15th September: Fife College and UHI North, West and Hebrides.

Rolling Action Week Two:

  • Monday 18th September: West College Scotland and Newbattle Abbey College.
  • Tuesday 19th September: UHI Argyle and Ayrshire College.
  • Wednesday 20th September: South Lanarkshire College and Shetland College.
  • Thursday 21st September: Dumfries & Galloway College and Dundee & Angus College.
  • Friday 22nd September: UHI Perth and Edinburgh College.

Rolling Action Week Three:

  • Monday 25th September: UHI Inverness and West Lothian College.
  • Tuesday 26th September: City of Glasgow College and Borders College.
  • Targeted Action: 2nd, 3rd and 4th October:
  • Glasgow Clyde College: First Minister's constituency.
  • Fife College: Cabinet Secretary for Education's constituency.
  • Dundee & Angus College: Deputy First Minister’s and Minister for FE's constituency.