College lecturers to strike for longer amid long running dispute

A further 15 days of strike action will take place in September amid an ongoing row over cuts.

City of Glasgow College lecturers to strike for additional 15 days amid long running dispute SNS Group

A trade union has served notice of further strikes by lecturers at City of Glasgow College, amid a long running dispute over course provision and job security.

The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) said its members will strike for an additional 15 days, starting on September 5, over cuts to learning provision coupled with redundancies.

Strikes will carry on between September 5 to 8; 11 to 14; 19 to 21 and 26 to 29.

EIS-FELA (EIS Further Education Lecturers’ Association) has been in dispute with the college since February this year, after it announced increased workloads for lecturers, reduced face to face contact time for students, cuts to the numbers of Learning Support lecturers, and two rounds of redundancy – one of which is compulsory.

It comes after the college announced plans in May to cut up to 100 jobs in a bid to tackle a £6m deficit.

EIS general secretary Andrea Bradley said: “City of Glasgow is still a public sector, publicly-funded college and as part of the funding arrangements the college must be able to demonstrate a commitment to Fair Work.

“The complete opposite is true here. We have long-standing concerns over a culture of bullying of staff in this college, as evidenced by a survey the EIS-FELA branch carried out last year.

“It has so far been clear that the college’s senior leadership team aims to steamroller ahead with cuts and redundancies in their usual style: authoritarian, flippant towards staff concerns and student needs, and contemptuous of trade unions.

“This has directly resulted in the protracted dispute that we are about to see continue at a time when students should be able to make positive starts to the new academic year.”

She added that the fact no lecturers or members of staff have yet been served notice of compulsory redundancy was a “testament to the hard work” of union reps and members.

She called on the Scottish Government to intervene urgently in the dispute, to protect jobs and the quality of education.

Ms Bradley added: “We want the College to sign up to a bespoke Fair Work agreement in order that there can be a joint review of the processes followed to date and to set the tone for a new culture moving forward.

“The best interests of the students and staff of City of Glasgow College must be the top priority.”

A City of Glasgow College spokesperson said: “All Scottish colleges face substantial funding and financial challenges from real-terms cuts, plus high energy, inflation and staff costs.

“The claw back of £26m that had been promised to the college sector in the recent Scottish Government budget exacerbates an already challenging financial landscape for the College.

“The college budget allocation is a flat cash settlement but with inflation recently running at 10%, this is a significant and unsustainable 10% real terms cut, which unfortunately left us with no option other than bringing forward proposals for compulsory redundancies.

“The national EIS-FELA body has been demonstrating outside the Scottish Parliament and has called on the Scottish Government to fix the national crisis affecting colleges, so they recognise it is a national issue. It doesn’t make any sense to go out on local strikes on a national funding issue as it can’t change anything.

“Fortunately, over 70% of our lecturers have been putting students first by continuing to work, which is minimising the disruption to students, and the College remains open throughout the strike action.”

The Scottish Government has been approached for comment.

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