Created on: 12 Sep 2023 | Last modified: 09 Nov 2023
Strike action will begin on Thursday 7th September and follow the programme set out below including a combination of national, rolling and targeted action.
These strikes can be avoided, if College Employers Scotland and the Scottish Government seriously focus on ending this dispute and work to provide a fully funded pay award that does not result in job losses.
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.
The planned strike action will last for the best part of five weeks; over the course of September and early October 2023. The EIS-FELA Executive will meet during this period and discuss the impact of action before deciding on any further action.
EIS-FELA negotiators have made it clear to College Employers Scotland that only a fully funded and acceptable pay offer, that does not result in job losses, will halt industrial action.
Anti-trade union legislation at UK level, means that industrial action mandates are valid for only six months. Trade unions can request extensions of mandates from employers, under the terms of the Trade Union Act 2016, however a request from the EIS for an extension was rejected by College Employers Scotland. Therefore, EIS opened a statutory re-ballot that will run between Thursday 31st August and Wednesday 27th September.
It is crucial that members of the EIS-FELA demonstrate their capacity and willingness to continue the fight for a fully funded and fair pay award for as long as it takes. The EIS-FELA Executive strongly recommends that you vote YES to both ASOS and strike action in this re-ballot. Please remember that as this is a statutory ballot, anti-trade union legislation dictates that it must be conducted by post and ballot papers will be sent to the address that the EIS holds on file for you. If you have not received your ballot paper, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible.
The current pay offer from College Employers Scotland is over two years, with a £2000 increase in year one and a £1500 increase in year two. EIS-FELA negotiators have been made aware that this offer will be funded through significant job losses across the public Further Education sector. In information shared by CES with EIS-FELA in May 2023, they projected over 400 potential lecturing job losses alone across the two years.
Aside from the unacceptable link to job losses, the £1500 in year two sits below the public sector pay policy minimum for the majority of EIS-FELA members. College lecturers are public sector workers and colleges are public sector institutions, you should not be treated differently to the rest of the public sector.
EIS-FELA will not trade jobs for pay and any pay offer must be at an acceptable level and fully funded in order to avoid it resulting in any job losses.
The EIS cannot pay strike pay to members in a national strike – it is simply unaffordable.
However, in a clear message to both College Employers Scotland and the Scottish Government of the unequivocal support of the main body for EIS FELA members’ action, the EIS Executive Committee has authorised 100% net strike pay for those members taking additional targeted action on top of the two days of strike action to be undertaken by all other EIS-FELA members.
A hardship fund has been established by the EIS for members that are disproportionately affected by the strike action.
Strike hardship fund application forms will be available here.
This is the direct link for the 7th September strike day.
Further applications can be made on completion of all notified strike dates, in early October.
In addition, any EIS member who has been in membership for a year may apply to the EIS HQ Benevolence Fund and further details are provided here.
It is over a year since college lecturers should have received their pay award for 2022/23. EIS-FELA members have had to manage through a cost-of-living crisis that continues to impact on working people; inflation may have decreased but it remains high and the increased prices remain. Despite this, College Employers Scotland’s current offer is dependent on job losses. It is unacceptable that college lecturers, following a protracted wait for a pay rise they should already have, should then be told they must sacrifice jobs for a sub inflationary pay offer.
Industrial Action Short of Strike (ASOS), in the form of a resulting boycott and work to rule, began on 2nd May 2023 and remains in place. Please find the ASOS FAQ’s here (an EIS membership is required to access).
We urge you to participate in collective, national industrial action – as decided by a statutory ballot of the membership. We hope that no member goes to work as a strike-breaker, because it weakens the strike in pursuit of winning this dispute, and weakens the collective nature of trade union membership.
The maximum amount of pressure can be brought on College Employers Scotland and the Scottish Government to facilitate a fully funded and fair pay offer for college lecturers if we stand strong together.
The pattern of national, rolling and targeted action has been agreed in order to balance the most effective strike strategy, with the minimal impact financially on individual members. However, in order to ensure this strategy is effective, maximum participation in the strike is necessary.
The more effective the strike action, the more quickly the dispute will be resolved in the interests of EIS members and our students.
No, the EIS has already provided the legal notice of strike action. There is no need for any individual to communicate anything to their employer of their intention to take strike action. Some colleges may attempt to write directly to employees asking them to identify whether they are going on strike. There is no statutory obligation on the individual to comply with this request.
No, the EIS is only required to give the number of members per workplace in the dispute. We have done this.
No EIS member should cover for a striker’s class. No member of any trade union should cover for a striker’s work.
No. A strike will not create a gap in service and will not affect your legal right to permanency if you are on a fixed term or top up contract.
Further information regarding strike day activity will be communicated to you by your branch and by EIS HQ.
Occupational Maternity Pay is paid according to a pregnant worker’s average weekly wage in the 8 weeks preceding 15 weeks before the EWC (expected week of confinement). It is unclear whether employers will calculate maternity pay on notional or actual salary but to avoid doubt, exemption will be provided to those pregnant members who have an EWC from 7th January 2024 or later. If you have any concerns or queries regarding your situation please contact your branch secretary in the first instance.
Yes, we have done everything in our power to avoid strike. The EIS-FELA pay claim for £5000, flat rated, was submitted in June 2022. At the time that the claim was submitted, knew that inflation was predicted to rise exponentially in the developing cost of living crisis. CES took several months and a number of NJNC meetings to respond with an offer; this only came after EIS-FELA enacted the NJNC dispute procedure regarding the lack of offer.
Following the declaration of a dispute earlier this year, during which a consultative ballot took place evidencing EIS-FELA members’ willingness to take strike action, management representatives attended two formal dispute resolution meetings without bringing any further improvement of their offer.
EIS-FELA met with Graeme Dey, the Minister with responsibility for further education to the Scottish Parliament, shortly after he was appointed. He encouraged EIS-FELA to move position, and stated that he would encourage the employers to do this also. With inflation running at over 11%, EIS-FELA revised our claim in May to £7000 over two years and tabled this in May 2023. EIS-FELA indicated that we could be flexible on how this figure could be split over two years, and that resolution could be found through negotiation if the management were willing to move.
The EIS wrote to the Scottish Government asking for an emergency funding package to be implemented for colleges, and also wrote to all college principals asking them to join us in this call. No formal replies were received from any Principals and a negative reply from the Scottish Government was received.
Action Short of Strike, in the form of a resulting boycott and work to rule, began on 2nd May 2023, on the same day the same day that the Scottish Government announced the withdrawal of an additional £26million that had been allocated to the college sector.
CES produced their ‘full and final’ offer of £2000 year one and £1500 year two in early June 2023. Figures that EIS-FELA requested forecasted that this offer would result in “potentially” 400 job losses linked to this offer. EIS-FELA rejected the offer and made clear that it would not accept a pay offer predicated on job losses and also made clear that the £1500, in year two, falls below public sector pay policy minimum for the majority of the FELA membership.
The EIS-FELA branch at City of Glasgow College is currently taking sustained strike action against up to one hundred compulsory redundancies. Elsewhere a compulsory redundancy has already taken place, at Edinburgh college, during this time and the local EIS-FELA branch are campaigning for an EIS members’ reinstatement through strike action. Recently, the EIS-FELA branch at Dundee and Angus College managed to stop management consideration of compulsory redundancies following its intention to go to statutory ballot for strike action. In all cases, the potential awarding of the current CES pay offer has been cited as a factor by the respective college leadership in relation to redundancies.
The Scottish Government, via communication from the Minister for Further Education, has to this point tacitly accepted compulsory redundancies taking place in colleges, despite these institutions being part of the public sector and therefore in breach of its own public sector no compulsory redundancy policy.
In this context, the EIS-FELA has attempted to avert strike action but has ultimately been left with no choice. The current pay offer from College Employers Scotland is dependent on job losses, with some college principals already acting on this. The Scottish Government must be convinced to reverse this situation and can do so by ensuring that College Employers Scotland can facilitate a fully funded pay award that will not result in job losses.
No. If you are participating in strike action, you are withdrawing your labour for the full strike day – this includes responding to emails, phone calls, marking and prep as well as teaching day and evening classes.
The college may ask you for medical evidence for shorter sickness absences if these coincide with strike days.
If you are on maternity, parental or family leave then you are not expected to participate in industrial action. If you are shortly planning to take maternity or other leave please contact your branch secretary for advice. Similarly, if the leave is unplanned, your Branch Secretary can provide advice in relation to your circumstances.
Yes – if they become members before the start of a strike day then they can participate.
In exceptional circumstances a member may be exempted from strike action. If you seek an exemption, then please contact Anita Stewart (email@example.com) explaining the exceptional circumstances.
Regrettably, strike action will impact upon students. The threat of job losses, linked to the current pay offer from College Employers Scotland, will mean less learning opportunities for students through cuts to courses.
We welcome and value the solidarity of the National Union of Students nationally for the EIS-FELA membership in its industrial action.