EIS calls on minister to intervene in college staff pay row

The EIS teaching union is looking for the support of Education Secretary Angela Constance in their dispute. Image: Lisa Ferguson
The EIS teaching union is looking for the support of Education Secretary Angela Constance in their dispute. Image: Lisa Ferguson
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The Scottish Government has been urged to intervene in a pay dispute between college bosses and a trade union.

The EIS teaching union demanded Education Secretary Angela Constance takes “immediate action” to prevent Colleges Scotland from imposing a deal on staff.

Final arrangements for a ballot of union members over the deal are to be discussed at a union meeting on Friday afternoon.

Ahead of that, EIS general secretary Larry Flanagan warned that “this intended imposition by colleges of a previously rejected pay offer will simply anger lecturers and ensure an even greater vote for strike action”.

College staff have been offered a a wage rise of 1 per cent but the union wants action to tackle the wide variation in pay across the sector.

Mr Flanagan said: “Management have refused to consider any moves towards such a set of national pay scales and the principle of equal pay across the sector.

“Indeed, the imposition of this change in pay will increase differentials between colleges rather than reduce them.

“This proposed action exposes the management side’s lack of any meaningful commitment to the process of national bargaining.”

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He added: “The EIS calls upon the Cabinet Secretary, Angela Constance, to reiterate the Scottish Government’s commitment to national pay bargaining in the college sector and to take immediate action to ensure that publicly-funded college employers comply with government policies.”

The union is about to begin staging a statutory ballot for industrial action, Mr Flanagan said, with final arrangements to be discussed by the executive of its Further Education Lecturers’ Association.

Its call for the Education Secretary to intervene was backed by the Scottish Greens, with education spokeswoman and Holyrood Highlands and Islands candidate Isla O’Reilly stating: “For our colleges to keep providing high-quality education, staff have to be properly supported to do their jobs.

“With the mounting pressure on wages and crumbling trust between workers and management, disregarding the national bargaining process is simply unacceptable.

“It’s time for the Scottish Government to take responsibility over the hard-working staff who run our colleges.

“I urge Angela Constance to step in and ensure that college leadership gets back around the table and a fairer pay deal is agreed on by all parties involved.”