Ballot update - 3 December 2021

Created on: 03 Dec 2021

Difference is striking


Dear Member

The deadline for posting your ballot is fast approaching. To be sure it reaches our scrutineer in time for counting you must post your ballot NO LATER THAN YOUR LAST POST ON MONDAY.

You can download our FAQs about the dispute here:

While no one ever wants to strike, it’s important to understand why we take such action as a last resort. Some of you will have followed previous disputes in schools, FE colleges and, most recently, at SRUC that led to good worker outcomes - their common theme is the use, or threat of, strike action.

In the Scottish FE sector, strike action ensured pay rises and helped to fight off attempts to downgrade Lecturing roles to Instructor roles at some colleges. Only by taking the strike action did we demonstrate the resolve of our members to protect their profession.

Difference is Striking

At the SRUC, after years of attempts to get management to harmonise pay and grading structures and meet the HE sector norms for pay, an agreement was only reached after members took strike action. The agreement will ensure SRUC members are paid in line with the HE sector norm and have their pay structure harmonised across the many campuses they operate.

The fact is that striking makes a difference to the outcome of disputes. It’s not pleasant, and it does, regretfully, impact students.  We do not call for it unless all other options for getting progress in a dispute have been exhausted. In the case of the 2021 New JNCHES pay round, we have exhausted all possible routes to negotiate a settlement. Talking alone will not convince the employers to improve their pay offer. A demonstration of our resolve – a strike – is our only viable option to do so.

The EIS-ULA Executive is recommending you vote YES to Strike Action and YES to Action Short of a Strike in this dispute. We know from long experience that #TheDifferenceIsStriking

The life of academics has gotten progressively harder. Since 2009, the value of pay has fallen well behind inflation and your salary has been cut in real terms by 29.5% as a result. That means you can buy almost a third less now with your pay packet today than you could with your 2009 salary. 

You deserve more

During that period, the workplace has also changed; Students expect more, employers expect more, more admin, more emails, more pastoral care, more digitisation - workloads have spiralled, but career prospects are diminished. There are fewer chances for promotion, more likelihood of being offered an insecure hourly paid or fixed-term contract, pressure to deliver more for less at a time when bills are rising.

This month, RPI currently sits at 6.0% but your employer is only offering a 1.5% pay uplift. That means, once again, they are offering a sub inflationary pay offer, or in other words, another real-terms pay cut. It’s a slap in the face to staff who have put in extraordinary efforts over the pandemic to ensure universities could continue to deliver teaching to students.

It’s time for the imbalance to be redressed and that means a genuine pay rise.

Vote YES to strike action and YES to action short of a strike. Post it today and help us fight for better and fair pay for Scotland’s academics.