College lecturers are to go on strike across Scotland today over a long-running dispute over pay and conditions after talks between unions and management ended without agreement.
More than 4,600 members are eligible to take part in the strike, which will affect a total of 19 institutions.
A further one-day strike is planned for next Wednesday with action then increasing to two or three days each week until the start of June unless the deal is honoured.
A demonstration will also take place outside the Scottish Parliament at 1pm today.
The Educational Institute of Scotland, Scotland’s largest teaching union, say the dispute centres round Colleges Scotland’s failure to honour an agreement reached last March promising equal pay for lecturers in all colleges and national terms and conditions, ending a situation whereby lecturers at different colleges did not get the same salary for doing the same job.
Colleges Scotland said students studying for exams would suffer and called on the EIS to end the action resume negotiations.
Larry Flanagan, general secretary of the Educational Institute of Scotland, said lecturers were no longer prepared to wait for the deal to be implemented.
“After more than a year of waiting and watching college managers talk down the agreement that they freely signed up to, Scotland’s further education lecturers have simply had enough.
“All that lecturers are asking is for the deal that was agreed by both sides to be honoured.
“Sadly, rather than working to deliver their commitments, college management have spent the last 13 months attempting to rewrite history and airbrush this binding agreement while simultaneously denigrating the hard-working lecturing staff in their colleges.”
A spokeswoman for Colleges Scotland described the action as “completely unnecessary”.
“We have already agreed to an average pay rise of 9 per cent over the next two years, but the EIS is striking to also secure an increase to 66 days holiday and a reduction in teaching class contact time to 21 hours.
“The employers have agreed to pay the £40,000 top salary, plus a generous package that would provide 56 days holiday and 24 hours teaching class contact time, with the facility to timetable up to 26 hours in any eight week period. That is a very good deal by any standards.
“The EIS claim ‘the funding is sitting in college bank accounts’ for the March 2016 agreement, but that is factually wrong.”