Created on: 20 Jan 2022
The issues below have been highlighted by EIS-FELA reps in the local colleges and EIS-FELA reps nationally.
College management have rationalised the merger over the past few years by saying the three colleges are too small and financially insecure to continue alone. The Scottish Funding Council delivers pro-rata funding to all FE colleges in Scotland. UHI is the regional strategic body which takes receipt of the funding from SFC and distributes it to colleges. More detail is required on the impacted college finances and UHI’s funding delivery model before we can (dis)agree that the merger is required.
Governance of the new college is a significant concern for EIS-FELA members. A key risk in the merger is that the new college is unincorporated i.e., privatised. This recently happened in Shetland following a merger. More detail here. EIS-FELA is entirely opposed to non-incorporation of FE colleges. The Scottish Government have recently re-committed to FE colleges remaining within the public sector.
There is little detail on the proposed interaction between UHI, the new college Board, and new local advisory committees. There is a risk this new governance structure will increase opaque decision-making processes with more management being employed for the three colleges but potentially less or stagnant number of lecturing staff.
Although employment rights are protected, in part, by TUPE, terms and conditions can be changed for “economic, organisational or technical” reasons post-merger. Any changes will require to be consulted on via recognised trade unions.