Created on: 21 Mar 2023 | Last modified: 09 Nov 2023
City of Glasgow College lecturers are now voting on whether to take industrial action over the College's plans to reduce the number of lecturing staff, reduce the amount of teaching time per student, and burden lecturers with more classes in a bid to reduce costs.
An industrial action ballot of EIS Further Education Lecturers’ Association (EIS-FELA) is now open, and runs until 17th April.
The proposed action short of strike could see lecturers refusing to use the College's virtual learning platforms, which have always been a point of contention for lecturers as the online materials can reduce the requirement for face-to-face learning and teaching.
An EIS-FELA spokesperson said, "Our members believe City of Glasgow College management have undermined collective bargaining and are pushing through financial cuts with a lack of integrity. There has been no meaningful negotiation on these cuts which look likely to be imposed on lecturers without their agreement.
"We do not know what the College management's overall plans are, but we believe the next step will also be compulsory redundancies. The College's financial priorities are all over the place. The Principal, whose total remuneration package comes to around £215,000 per year, has travelled to Norway, Dubai, Lyon and Dublin in the current financial year and had 22 overseas trips and over 30 trips to London between 2018 and 2023, yet the College is now operating a cuts agenda for students and lecturing staff.
"We have already passed a vote of no confidence in the Executive Leadership Team and CEO but the Board of Management appear to provide little scrutiny and have not responded. Findings from EIS-FELA's Survey on Workplace Culture in June 2022 showed that 76% of respondents believed there was an 'authoritarian leadership style' and 60% had been subjected to, or witnessed, bullying.
"The college is not a Fair Work workplace, which is not in line with the Scottish Funding Council’s Outcomes Agreement for the college.
"Within 6 working days of EIS-FELA opening a consultative ballot, more than 80% of voting members said they wanted to take strike action; and more than 90% said they’d take action short of strike action in a bid to get management to listen. That has not happened yet; therefore we are left with no choice but to open a statutory ballot for industrial action.
"Not a single year has passed since 2017 when lecturers at City of Glasgow College weren’t being balloted. We don’t want to do this but when management consistently refuse to negotiate, refuse to hear grievances, refuse to respond to petitions and surveys of members, what else are we to do?"
This ballot is open at the same time as a national EIS-FELA ballot on pay, with Colleges Scotland currently offering a real-terms pay cut of 2% to lecturers. EIS-FELA members believe this is a derisory offer considering inflation and other pay awards recently agreed across the public sector.