John Swinney: '˜students may fail degrees because of strikes'

Scottish College students are in danger of failing their degrees and exams as a result of a recent spate of strikes by lecturers, education Secretary John Swinney has said.

Education secretary John Swinney has urged lecturers to call off planned industrial action. Picture: Russell Cheyne/PA Wire

He appealed for lecturers to call off their action at the weekend after appointing a Scottish Government mediator in an effort to settle the acrimonious dispute. John Sturrock QC will facilitate talks between the EIS teaching union and Colleges Scotland in a bid to resolve the discord over core teaching hours and the numbers of annual leave days for staff across Scotland.

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Mr Swinney said further action would “see the impact on students deepen and harden” with some “real risk” of some not being able to progress or qualify. He told MSPs yesterday that he met with both sides on Sunday.

“I emphasised in both meetings my serious concerns about the detrimental and disruptive impact of the current dispute on students and that this should be to the fore of our thinking.”

The union has said the organisation failed to deliver on a deal agreed last year.

The union was on strike yesterday and today, with plans to escalate industrial action from next week. EIS general secretary Larry Flanagan said its members “remain absolutely resolute” that the strike will continue until the deal is honoured by management.