College lecturers vote for industrial action in fight for fair pay

Created on: 14 Apr 2023 | Last modified: 09 Nov 2023

Scotland's colleges are facing a programme of sustained industrial action by college lecturers, over pay, following the conclusion of a statutory ballot.

Members of the EIS-Further Education Lecturers Association (EIS-FELA), who are lecturers across Scotland's 26 FE Colleges, voted to take action short of strike (ASOS) and strike action in pursuit of a fair pay settlement, as a protracted pay dispute continues. College employers are yet to make a formal improvement on an offer of a 2% salary uplift that was rejected by EIS-FELA negotiators prior to Christmas 2022.

Turnout: 53%

YES to Strike Action: 78%

YES to Action Short of Strike (ASOS): 94%

Following the ballot result, the EIS-FELA Executive Committee met and requested that the EIS Executive sanction a programme of industrial action that will begin with action short of strike in early May.

The action short of strike will be in the form of withholding student results from college systems and a withdrawal of goodwill (with college lecturers no longer carrying out duties beyond contractual requirements). In the event that action short of strike fails to produce an acceptable pay offer, the dispute will be escalated to strike action at the start of the new academic year.

EIS General Secretary, Andrea Bradley, said: “The Scottish Government and college leaders must heed the warning of this statutory ballot and commit to meaningful negotiations to settle this pay dispute.

"The current pay offer is 10% less than the current rate of inflation and is thus a huge real terms pay cut. This group of public sector workers deserve better and need to be treated fairly and equitably by College Employers Scotland, with Scottish Government support if necessary."

Commenting, EIS-FELA President, Anne-Marie Harley said: "It is bitterly disappointing that college lecturers are set to take industrial action for the eighth time in nine years. For too long, the intransigence of college employers has plunged the Further Education sector into the disruption caused by industrial action.

"The Scottish Government too cannot wash its hands of this situation when it has intervened across other parts of the public sector to settle pay disputes. Whilst we have this industrial action mandate, we would prefer to negotiate a fair pay deal for college lecturers without the need for sustained industrial action."