Escalation of Strike Looms, as CES fail again to make Improved Offer

Created on: 22 Sep 2023 | Last modified: 02 Oct 2023

College lecturers are continuing with a national rolling programme of strike action today, at Edinburgh College and Perth UHI, in a protracted dispute over pay. 

Members of the EIS-Further Education Lecturers Association (EIS-FELA) have been undertaking industrial action short of strike since May 2023 and began strike action earlier this month, faced with a pay offer from College Employers Scotland (CES) that would cost potentially over 400 lecturing jobs.

Despite discussions between EIS-FELA, CES and the Minister for Further Education, Graeme Dey, earlier this week, the representatives of college employers did not return to negotiations yesterday with any evidence of progress towards an improved offer on pay and job security.

EIS-FELA have called on the Scottish Government to work with College Employers Scotland to facilitate a fully funded and fair pay award that would not result in job losses.

Without a further offer, strike action will be escalated, in the first week of October, to take place 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, "The Scottish Government is keen to focus on what it says is an ambitious reform agenda for the college sector, however, whatever the shape of any reform this will require significant buy in from the lecturing workforce and that means taking definitive action on fair pay and job security.

"There is simply no use speaking of an exciting future and ignoring the very real crisis in colleges taking place right now.”

Ms Bradley added, "EIS-FELA will not trade jobs for pay and no group of workers should be faced with such a choice from their employers. It is ridiculous that College Employers Scotland seem simply incapable of acting with urgency to end this dispute, despite meeting with the Minister for Further Education alongside representatives from EIS-FELA earlier this week.

"This is a group of employers who have routinely sought conflict over collaboration in the last decade and dragged out disputes in the past; it appears right now as if their mindset, and by extension that of college principals, has not changed.

"The Scottish Government must hold college leaders to account and work with College Employers Scotland to facilitate a fair pay offer and job security, before strike action is escalated to the constituencies of ministers in early October."

Anne Marie Harley. EIS-FELA President said, "College Employers Scotland showed absolutely no urgency yesterday at the negotiating table and only agreed to a further meeting next week, at our request, after much delay.

"We are willing to meet at any time to hold constructive discussions focused on ending this dispute, but this requires tangible action and willingness from CES, and by extension, college principals. The Scottish Government must act and ensure that College Employers Scotland do their job and return to negotiations with a fully funded and fair pay award that does not result in job losses."


EIS-FELA Strike dates

Rolling Action Week One:

Monday 11th September: New College Lanarkshire.

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.