EIS-FELA Edinburgh College Staff Take Strike Action Over Compulsory Redundancies

Created on: 26 Jun 2023 | Last modified: 09 Nov 2023

Members of the Educational Institute of Scotland - Further Education Lecturers’ Association (EIS-FELA) at Edinburgh College have today (Monday) taken the first in a series of days of strike action in response to compulsory redundancies at the College.

The EIS-FELA Branch at Edinburgh College has had an active strike mandate in place for some weeks in pursuit of a dispute regarding compulsory redundancies, which has been successful in reducing the number of jobs under threat, through negotiation. The EIS wrote to the College Principal last week urging further talks. Despite this, the College has rejected the appeal of one member of the lecturing staff against compulsory redundancy as of 30th June.

EIS General Secretary, Andrea Bradley said, “The EIS-FELA Branch at Edinburgh College has been left with no option but to proceed with strike action today in the face of wilful intransigence by the management of the College. Given the size and scope of Edinburgh College as an organisation, the EIS would have anticipated meaningful discussions and offers of retraining or upskilling for the colleague who faces unemployment as of Friday. Despite retraining or upskilling being raised on several occasions by EIS representatives, and despite a so-called recruitment freeze having been abandoned, these discussions have not taken place, thereby limiting suitable alternatives to redundancy for the colleague who also happens to be an EIS Branch Rep.”

Ms Bradley continued, “It is difficult to fathom how such a large college, which delivers such an array of courses, would be unable to avoid this redundancy situation, especially as teaching hours seem to be available on college timetables for next term, based upon information received by the EIS. Spurious excuse after excuse has been made by the College as to why the work cannot be offered to the lecturer in question, appearing that the College cares more about targeting union reps and testing the water on compulsory redundancies of lecturers in the sector rather than ensuring the delivery of quality education and Fair Work for lecturing staff.

“The Scottish Government is culpable in this situation too. They have dealt major blows to Further Education in Scotland in the form of flat cash funding settlements and the recent withdrawal of £26 million of funding for FE. Lower than predicted student numbers, coupled with the cost-of-living crisis are also causing financial strain within the sector, yet the Scottish Government has sat back and watched these pressures mount towards the implementation of limited voluntary severance schemes and the very real threat of large numbers of compulsory redundancies in two colleges - City of Glasgow and Edinburgh. EIS-FELA, supported by the EIS itself, will not stand by and allow the livelihoods of our members to be threatened in this way. Strike action will continue post-summer unless an acceptable resolution can be reached. In the case of Edinburgh College, this should not be anything like the problem that the College has chosen to make it.”