EIS-FELA Executive Condemns Scotland's College Sector

Created on: 08 May 2023 | Last modified: 11 Apr 2024

The Executive Committee of the EIS-Further Education Lecturers Association (EIS-FELA) has condemned the lack of fair working practices across Scotland’s public college sector. 

With colleges in growing number across Scotland threatening compulsory redundancies and significant concerns regarding the lack of proper consultation in these processes, the EIS-FELA Executive can no longer accept claims by college employers that they are genuinely signed up to the Scottish Government’s Fair Work agenda.

Local industrial action will be undertaken in Scotland’s two largest colleges, City of Glasgow and Edinburgh respectively, with the former seeking to cut up to 100 jobs and the latter seeking to make 6 individuals compulsory redundant. In both cases, significant concerns regarding the lack of effective and meaningful consultation have been raised by the EIS-FELA branches.

National industrial action short of strike (ASOS), over pay, began in Scotland's 26 colleges on Monday 2nd May, with college lecturers no longer engaging in tasks outwith the terms of their contract and boycotting the entering of student results in college systems.  

EIS General Secretary, Andrea Bradley, said, “The Scottish Government can no longer ignore the issues in the Further Education sector, with colleges across the country making drastic cuts to learning provision whilst displaying a lack of respect to the point of contempt for the voice of their staff - the trade unions. College leaders of publicly funded institutions have for too long acted as if each college is a personal fiefdom.

"The long-standing issues of governance and accountability in Further Education must be addressed before the sector is damaged beyond recognition."

Commenting, EIS-FELA President Anne Marie Harley, said, "Scotland's college sector is the sector of unfair work. College management teams, in growing numbers, are embarking on drastic proposals to cut workforces to the bone, with many deploying extremely subpar levels of consultation.

"Additionally, a recent Freedom of Information request made by the EIS-FELA exposed widespread use of zero, variable hours, and similar precarious contracts in a number of colleges. This is a source of serious concern given that colleges are within the public sector. The Scottish Government, who this week withdrew sorely needed additional funding to the sector, and the Scottish Funding Council, must act now to ensure that colleges engage with their staff in a manner that is transparent, respectful and evidentially in line with the Fair Work agenda.

"For years, the EIS-FELA has raised concerns regarding a damaging management culture in the FE sector; the time has come for tangible action to preserve this vital public service."