Letter to Richard Lochhead

Created on: 17 Apr 2020 | Last modified: 30 Jun 2021

Dear Richard

Merger and Privatisation of Shetland College
COVID-19 Pandemic

As you may be aware, the EIS has made a number of representations to the Scottish Government, Shetland Islands Council and the Scottish Funding Council regarding the proposed college merger over the past number of months. Primarily, these representations have focussed on our opposition to the recommendation that the newly merged college should be a nonincorporated private limited company.

Shetland Islands Council was due to meet on today to make a final decision on the recommendations. The EIS is concerned that no genuine and effective consultation had taken place with staff or trade unions prior to this decision being made.

Indeed, the Council were pressing ahead with the full meeting today, in the midst of a global pandemic, despite cancelling the College Lecturers’ Joint Consultative Committee which was scheduled to take place on Monday 23rd March.

The Council cancelled the meeting scheduled for today late afternoon on Tuesday 24 th March but have iterated that “any matters requiring a full Council or Committee decision during this period will be progressed in accordance with existing delegated authority or Council policy”.

We have written to the Council, along with our questions and consultation submissions enclosed, to highlight this egregious breach of process. We, along with our sister trade unions, believe it is unconscionable that Shetland Islands Council are using this pandemic to camouflage a lack of genuine consultation. Further, that the COVID-19 crisis should not be used to proceed with such an important decision on the basis of delegated authority alone.

This is an outrageous breach of democratic process, with the Council showing the utmost lack of respect to trade union members, collective bargaining procedures and Fair Work.

We would be obliged if you could raise this with Shetland Islands Council as a matter of urgency.

Kind regards
Larry Flanagan
General Secretary

Encl. Letter to Shetland Islands Council dated 25th March 2020
Questions and Submissions from Shetland EIS-FELA Branch