College lecturers take national strike action for fully funded pay award

Created on: 25 Aug 2023 | Last modified: 11 Apr 2024

The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS), has given notice to all of Scotland’s Further Education colleges of a programme of sustained strike action in a long running dispute over pay.

This marks an escalation in the pay dispute, following months where members of the EIS-Further Education Lecturers Association (EIS-FELA) have engaged in action short of strike, comprising a resulting boycott and work to contract.

College lecturers should have received a pay uplift at the beginning of September 2022 and following over a year of protracted negotiations, College Employers Scotland have stated that their ‘full and final’ pay offer would have to be financed through significant job losses across the college sector. Negotiators from EIS-FELA have made clear that sacrificing jobs for fair pay is completely unacceptable and rejected the current pay offer on this basis.

Beginning on Thursday 7th September, when all members of EIS-FELA will take strike action across Scotland, a rolling programme of strikes will take place with two colleges taking strike action each day for twelve days. Following the conclusion of the rolling strike action, targeted strike action will take place at the following colleges:

  • Glasgow Clyde College – First Minister’s constituency.

  • Dundee & Angus College - Deputy First Minister’s and Minister for Further Education’s constituencies.

  • Fife College: Cabinet Secretary for Education’s constituency.

Commenting as notice of strike action was being given, EIS General Secretary Andrea Bradely, said, “Members of EIS-FELA are incredulous that college employers have stated that they must accept a pay offer that would result in hundreds of job losses in colleges across Scotland. No group of workers should be strong-armed into trading jobs for pay. Meanwhile, the Scottish Government have stood idly by and allowed this crisis to develop, then intensify, and now must act to ensure that any pay award made to college lecturers is fully funded, in order to ensure that a pay rise will not be financed by job losses.

Ms Bradley continued, “In the face of a significant programme of strike action, including targeted strike action in the constituencies of key Scottish Government ministers, who have the power and the resource to resolve this dispute, the time for excuses is over. It’s well past time for the Scottish Government to step up and step in to fund a final pay agreement that will deliver a much-need cost of living uplift for lecturers whilst avoiding unemployment for hundreds.”

Anne-Marie Harley, EIS-FELA President, commented, “College lecturers have had to wait for a year whilst College Employers Scotland delayed and dragged out negotiations, only to make a ‘final’ offer that we have been told will be at the cost of hundreds of jobs across the further education sector. This situation is an insult to college lecturers and we are making clear that we are prepared to take sustained strike action, including targeted action, to force the Scottish Government and College Employers Scotland to treat us with the respect we deserve. EIS-FELA will never trade jobs for pay.”

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.