College in Crisis as Strike Action Continues

Created on: 14 Sep 2023

Scotland’s college lecturers have continued a twelve-day rolling programme of strike action in pursuit of a fair pay award and job security.

Members of the EIS-Further Education Lecturers Association (EIS-FELA) at Glasgow Kelvin College and North East Scotland College (NESCoL) are on strike today, before local branches at all of Scotland’s other further education colleges follow suit over the next two and a half weeks.

Alongside national strike action, local strike campaigns also continue today at Edinburgh College and City of Glasgow College against compulsory redundancies at these public sector institutions.

EIS-FELA have previously rejected a pay offer from College Employers Scotland that the employers themselves forecast to result in over 400 lecturing job losses across the further education sector. One week ago today, EIS-FELA members in all of Scotland’s colleges walked out in a national day of strike action, with hundreds gathering at a rally outside the Scottish parliament on the same day.

The EIS is calling on the Scottish Government to act to provide a fully funded and fair pay award, for college lecturers, that does not result in job losses.

Following the programme of rolling strike action, members of the EIS-FELA will undertake three days of targeted strike action in the constituencies of the First Minister, Deputy First Minister, Cabinet Secretary for Education and Minister for Further Education.

Commenting, EIS General Secretary, Andrea Bradley said, "Today, at Glasgow Kelvin College and NESCoL, EIS-FELA members will undertake the fourth of twelve days of national rolling strike action for fair pay and secure jobs. They do so with a very real threat to livelihoods when faced with a pay offer that College Employers Scotland have stated will cost potentially over 400 jobs.

"At the same time, local strike action continues at Edinburgh College to reinstate a trade union representative made compulsory redundant and at City of Glasgow College against up to one hundred compulsory redundancies. In both these cases, the management of these colleges has cited a pay award not yet made as a key reason for their ill-advised cutbacks."

Ms Bradley added, "College Employers Scotland need to be up front about the devastating impact of financial challenges in the college sector and commit fully to joining with EIS-FELA to press the Scottish Government to properly fund Further Education.

"The Scottish Government’s responses thus far seem to have been attempts to absolve themselves of the leadership and responsibility for the very real crisis in the college sector, which itself is part of the public sector. They must change course and the first step in doing so would be to step up to the plate and ensure that college lecturers receive a fully funded pay award that will not lead to job losses."