Union ballots for strike action over loss of lecturer roles

Industrial action is already under way at Forth Valley College.

Union ballots for strike action over loss of lecturer roles Pixabay

A teaching union is to ballot for industrial action over concerns college lecturers are being replaced by “lower qualified and lower paid instructors”.

The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) is consulting members over the “emerging practice” of replacing lecturer posts with the role of instructor or assessor.

Industrial action is already under way at Forth Valley College but the EIS has now sought support for nationwide action.

EIS general secretary Larry Flanagan said: “We have now opened a consultative industrial action ballot in defence of quality further education delivered by qualified lecturers.

“The emerging practice of replacing qualified lecturers with lower qualified and lower paid instructors is purely a cost-cutting measure with absolutely no educational merit.

“This runs absolutely counter to the drive to promote professionalism within further education, including the registration of college lecturing staff with the professional body, the General Teaching Council for Scotland.

“The EIS urges all our lecturer members in colleges to use their vote in this important ballot to show their support for a high-quality further education system across Scotland.”

Lecturers are also being asked to take part in a day of action in support of the campaign during the day, with an online rally and a range of social media activity to highlight the union’s campaign to protect lecturing jobs and promote high-quality teaching and learning in Scotland’s further education colleges.

A Colleges Scotland spokeswoman said: “It is disappointing that the EIS-FELA is asking its members to consider industrial action in the midst of a global pandemic that has disrupted education, and severely impacted the economy and employment prospects for many people across Scotland.

“Colleges use a variety of different learning and teaching methods designed to give the best student experience and to suit the needs of the subject.

“The use of instructors, assessors and tutors in the college sector is a well-established practice in delivering the diversity of curriculum activity which best addresses the needs of the learner and is appropriate for specific courses.”