Members of the Educational Institute of Scotland - Further Education Lecturers’ Association (EIS-FELA) are demanding what they say is a fair cost of living increase, in line with public sector pay policy.
EIS-FELA said it has rejected a 2% increase offer over three years, and accused employers’ association Colleges Scotland of seeking to tear-up existing commitments on lecturers’ working conditions.
On Wednesday members walked out over the issue which, according to EIS-FELA president Pam Currie, left management labelling lecturers as “greedy”.
She said: “Scotland’s college lecturers have, once again, shown their determination to make a stand in pursuit of a fair pay settlement.
“Our pay claim is entirely reasonable and wholly in line with public sector pay policy.
“Lecturers are asking only for a fair pay settlement that reflects the rising cost of living.
“Yet the response of management has been to label us ‘greedy’ and ‘unrealistic’, as they have repeatedly rejected all our attempts to reach a fair negotiated agreement.”
It is the third time EIS-FELA members have gone on strike this year after 24-hour walkouts in January and February.
They have also warned of possible further action, including a boycott of college results systems.
EIS general secretary Larry Flanagan said: “It is disappointing that Colleges Scotland failed to accept the EIS offer to suspend strike action earlier this week.
“EIS-FELA put a straightforward proposition to them which didn’t include additional money but which would have allowed negotiations to continue.
“Colleges Scotland rejected this and this has led to today’s action going ahead, with a new ballot now also under way which may lead to an escalation in this dispute.”
Colleges Scotland said lecturers north of the border are “by far the best paid across the UK”, and John Gribben, director of employment, said most people “would jump at the chance to gain a £5,000 pay rise”.
He added: “Not only is the EIS-FELA damaging the college sector with their constant striking and stating they will prevent students from progressing to other college or university courses by withholding assessment results from colleges, they haven’t even provided accurate details of what colleges are offering.
“They consistently misrepresent the offer and balloted their members for strike action on a pay offer which was never even put to them. The EIS-FELA should share colleges’ actual offer with their members and ask them whether they want to accept it or not.
“We will continue to engage in meaningful dialogue and urge the EIS-FELA to end this unnecessary strike, but it appears as though they have no interest in compromising, making any concessions or ending the strikes.”