Scotland’s college lecturers are preparing for industrial action, as they look set to reject a final pay offer from college bosses.
Union leaders say lecturers have grown “increasingly angry” at the delay in the pay negotiation process and the tabling of a final offer by the employers.
The final pay offer of a 1 per cent consolidated pay award to lecturers replaces the previous “risible” offer of 1 per cent “unconsolidated” pay award, the unconsolidated – or across the board – offer being a first in the Scottish public sector. Lecturers are also concerned that the 1 per cent offer to all lecturers will add to the significant differences in pay levels that have developed across colleges.
The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) believes this round of negotiations must attempt to start correcting these pay imbalances rather than worsen them by awarding a percentage increase and has called on the government to intervene.
Unions want all unpromoted lecturers to earn up to £40,386, amounting to an uplift of between 3.3 per cent and 25 per cent across the best and worst-paying colleges.
A 1 per cent across-the-board rise would widen pay disparities as top earners would get £390 extra while lower-paid staff would get much less. The issue is to be discussed at a EIS-FLA meeting in Glasgow in two weeks’ time.
EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan said: “It is unacceptable for the management side to drag the pay round for almost a year, only to then offer exactly the same cash-terms percentage pay rise that was previously proposed and rejected.
“The Scottish Government should now act to ensure a satisfactory outcome. It is highly likely, given the current mood, that an overwhelming rejection of the pay offer and a move towards a campaign of industrial action will be the most likely outcomes.”
A government spokesman said: “It is disappointing that more progress has not been made in setting this year’s pay deal but we hope [discussions] will result in a settlement being agreed.”