Created on: 24 Oct 2023
College lecturers at City of Glasgow College (CoGC) are set to continue their programme of industrial action, following the closure of a statutory industrial action ballot yesterday.
In the ballot, organised by the Educational Institute of Scotland - Further Education Lecturers’ Association (EIS-FELA), a massive 87% of members voted in favour of continuing their programme of industrial action in a long-running dispute over redundancies and working conditions, with 81% backing continuing strikes as part of the industrial action.
The EIS has previously raised serious questions over the redundancy process at CoGC, including concerns that the process is potentially discriminatory and that it also may have a disproportionate impact on more vulnerable students and those requiring additional support.
Commenting, EIS General Secretary Andrea Bradley said, “This is an extremely strong ballot result, which demonstrates that lecturers at City of Glasgow College will not be cowed by the intimidatory tactics of the college management. Despite a very long-running dispute and the pain of taking industrial action, our members at City of Glasgow College remain resolute and united in their determination to fight the damaging job and course cuts being forced onto students and staff by the college management.”
Ms Bradley added, “The management of City of Glasgow College clearly hoped that, by dragging this dispute out and forcing a re-ballot under the UK government’s restrictive anti-trade union laws, that they could beat lecturers into submission. That has back-fired spectacularly, as our members have delivered an overwhelming new mandate for continuing industrial action and a very clear signal that they will not be beaten down by the intransigence of management at City of Glasgow College.”
The ballot result means that the programme of industrial action will continue, until a resolution to the dispute is reached. Further dates for strike action will be announced in due course.
EIS-FELA members in the college have also commented on the ongoing dispute. Their comments have been anonymised, to protect them from reprisals of college management.
CoGC lecturer 1 said: “I have witnessed the college management enforcing the cutting of course hours, student support, IT equipment and chopping courses as well as enforcing compulsory redundancies on staff. Yet at the same time they insist that the standards of the college will not drop.”
CoGC lecturer 2 said: “I love my job and the chance it gives me to have a positive impact on the lives of my students. Watching them develop and progress onto higher education and into the working environment gives me enormous satisfaction. I have grave concerns about the cuts to lecturer class contact time with students, and the reduction in student support services that are available to them. I believe now more than ever, students need every minute we can give them, particularly those who may have additional support needs. Lecturer workloads are becoming unmanageable, and I strongly believe that the quality of the education that students receive will inevitably be impacted by this. I encouraged all of my colleagues to vote for the industrial action to empower our union to hold management to account and stop the cuts.”
CoGC lecturer 3 said: “I voted to strike because I'm worried that the cuts, and how they are being implemented via compulsory redundancy, which will result in a poorer standard FE education. I'm worried about the impact this will have on future generations, their quality of life and the opportunities to find meaningful, fulfilling work in a field they can make a valuable contribution to. As a result of these cuts, there are likely to be larger class sizes, fewer courses, less in-depth learning and training, and a consequent loss of morale and trust in the education system, something FE lecturers work hard to establish with their students.”