EIS announces 32 days of college strikes over lecturers’ pay

Edinburgh College has already seen strikes in recent years
Edinburgh College has already seen strikes in recent years
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COLLEGE lecturers plan a total of 32 days’ strike action in the coming months in a long-running dispute over pay.

The EIS trade union said 87.6 per cent of college members who voted in a ballot backed industrial action.

Lecturers plan to strike next Thursday, with two days of action planned the following week and the week of 18 April.

Thereafter, the union has confirmed staff will strike three days – Tuesday to Thursday – each week until 23 June.

EIS members were told in a letter: “This escalatory strike pattern is the same as the other EIS FELA [Further Education Lecturers’ Association] strikes in recent years such as at Edinburgh College.

“The EIS recognises the hardship that strike action causes and this decision has not been taken lightly.

“Strike action is the last recourse. However, no significant progress has been made since the pay claim was lodged in October 2014.

“The EIS has made clear to the management side [the colleges] that it will meet at any time to discuss any improved offer that it tables.

“The EIS hopes that the dispute is resolved as soon as possible, and without any strike action.”

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

The letter said college bosses had not contacted the union since the ballot result last Friday. A strike support fund is being established to support members whose salaries will be disproportionately affected, such as part-time lecturers who would normally work on the planned strike days.

EIS general secretary Larry Flanagan said: “Lecturers were promised a return to national bargaining and clear steps to deliver equal pay in all colleges across the country.

“In reality, neither of these promises has been delivered and lecturers feel angry and betrayed. These feelings have been reinforced by colleges abandoning the negotiations and imposing a pay uplift while other colleges have refused to take part in negotiations at all.”

Shona Struthers, chief executive of Colleges Scotland, said staff at all levels were offered a 1 per cent pay rise in line with other public-sector agreements, and this was accepted by three of four trade unions.