College lecturers to target Scottish minister constituencies in strikes

EIS has given notice to all of the country's Further Education colleges of a programme of sustained strike action.

EIS college lecturers to target Scottish minister constituencies during strikes amid pay dispute iStock

A teaching union has announced that college lecturers across Scotland will now target specific ministers’ constituencies, in an escalation of a long running pay dispute.

The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) on Thursday gave notice to all of the country’s Further Education colleges of a programme of sustained strike action.

The union said it marks an escalation in the pay dispute, after months of members of the EIS-Further Education Lecturers Association (EIS-FELA) engaging in actions short of strike.

College lecturers should have received a pay uplift at the beginning of September 2022, the union claims, but offers made by College Employers Scotland would all come at the cost of significant job losses.

Negotiators from EIS-FELA said that sacrificing jobs for fair pay is “completely unacceptable” and rejected the current pay offer on this basis.

Beginning on September 7, a rolling programme of strikes is set to take place – with two colleges striking every day for 12 days.

After this period ends targeted strike action will take place at the following colleges:

  • Glasgow Clyde College – First Minister’s constituency
  • Dundee & Angus College – Deputy first minister and minister for further education’s constituencies
  • Fife College: Cabinet secretary for education’s constituency

EIS general secretary Andrea Bradley said: “Members of EIS-FELA are incredulous that college employers have stated that they must accept a pay offer that would result in hundreds of job losses in colleges across Scotland.

“No group of workers should be strong-armed into trading jobs for pay. Meanwhile, the Scottish Government have stood idly by and allowed this crisis to develop, then intensify, and now must act to ensure that any pay award made to college lecturers is fully funded, in order to ensure that a pay rise will not be financed by job losses.

Ms Bradley continued: “In the face of a significant programme of strike action, including targeted strike action in the constituencies of key Scottish Government ministers, who have the power and the resource to resolve this dispute, the time for excuses is over. It’s well past time for the Scottish Government to step up and step in to fund a final pay agreement that will deliver a much-need cost of living uplift for lecturers whilst avoiding unemployment for hundreds.”

Anne-Marie Harley, EIS-FELA President, commented: “College lecturers have had to wait for a year whilst College Employers Scotland delayed and dragged out negotiations, only to make a ‘final’ offer that we have been told will be at the cost of hundreds of jobs across the further education sector.

“This situation is an insult to college lecturers and we are making clear that we are prepared to take sustained strike action, including targeted action, to force the Scottish Government and College Employers Scotland to treat us with the respect we deserve. EIS-FELA will never trade jobs for pay.”

A statement by College Employers Scotland said: “It is deeply disappointing that the EIS-FELA has announced national strike action, on top of its existing Action Short of Strike.

“Strikes will only serve to damage the college sector and cause further stress and anxiety to students. Colleges will now seek to put in place measures to mitigate the effects of any proposed strike action on their students’ education.

“College Employers Scotland provided a full and final pay offer to the EIS-FELA in June for a cumulative £3,500 pay rise. This equates to an average 8% pay rise and would mean college lecturers in Scotland maintain their position as the highest paid college lecturers across the UK.

“It’s unfortunate this pay offer from employers has not been taken to EIS-FELA members for a formal ballot and that, instead, colleges have now been given potential strike dates.

“We urge EIS-FELA to give their members a say on the employers’ offer.”

A full programme of strike action is as follows:

  • September 7 – National Strike Day

Rolling Action Week One:

  • September 11 – New College Lanarkshire and Orkney College.
  • September 12: Glasgow Clyde College and Sabhal Mor Ostaig.
  • September 13: Forth Valley College and UHI Moray.
  • September 14: Glasgow Kelvin College and NESCoL.
  • September 15: Fife College and UHI North, West and Hebrides.

Rolling Action Week Two:

  • September 18: West College Scotland and Newbattle Abbey College.
  • September 19: UHI Argyle and Ayrshire College.
  • September 20: South Lanarkshire College and Shetland College.
  • September 21: Dumfries & Galloway College and Dundee & Angus College.
  • September 22: UHI Perth and Edinburgh College.

Rolling Action Week Three:

  • September 205 UHI Inverness and West Lothian College.
  • September 26: City of Glasgow College and Borders College.

October 2, 3 and 4 – Targeted Action:

  • Glasgow Clyde College: First Minister’s constituency.
  • Fife College: Cabinet secretary for education’s constituency.
  • Dundee & Angus College: Deputy first minister’s and minister for further education’s constituency.
STV News is now on WhatsApp

Get all the latest news from around the country

Follow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp

Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country

WhatsApp channel QR Code
Posted in