Created on: 04 Mar 2021 | Last modified: 18 Nov 2021
Our membership in West Lothian College have held two consultative ballots and now a statutory ballot for industrial action over the introduction of instructor posts. The results of the statutory ballot are included in this section of the EIS website (see Results of Industrial Action Ballot below).
Having run a successful statutory ballot we have now commenced industrial action short of industrial action (often referred to as ASOS). The first stage of this is a work to contract. If there is no progress towards a resolution we will commence the other measures which are a resulting boycott and not covering for absent colleagues.
This issue dates back to January 2019 when the College advised the EIS at a meeting of the Joint Negotiation and Consultation Committee (JNCC) that it intended to commence a pilot that would see the introduction of one instructor post.
Immediately, the Branch recognised that this development could be a cause for concern for lecturer members as it had the potential to replace lecturer posts with that of instructor posts. Though it has been stated by college management that this is not the intention, there are now four posts of instructor in the College.
The EIS sought to resolve this matter through further discussion at the JNCC but when it became clear that the College was intent on going ahead with the first instructor post, Branch Officials lodged a formal dispute. This was in May 2019.
There followed a protracted disputes process in which management initially agreed to ACAS mediation, which was then postponed because of COVID-19, but management decided in August 2020 “that too much time had passed" for ACAS mediation and pulled out of it – thus ending the disputes process without a resolution.
The development and introduction of instructor posts at West Lothian College is a concern to both local EIS negotiators and members. The instructor posts seem to carry out work normally carried out by lecturers, and the fear is that this practice will grow across the college. Instructors are defined as support staff, and they do not have the same contracts as lecturers and no future requirement to register with the GTCS. Instructors are paid less and usually deliver more teaching hours than lecturers.
The EIS also believes that the quality of education provided to students by qualified, professional lecturers is critical in ensuring every college student has the best possible chance of success.