Further strikes in long-running college pay dispute
College employers embroiled in a pay dispute have hit out at lecturers for striking during the exam period.
Colleges Scotland accused lecturers of “targeting” students as they staged a further two-day strike this week.
Lecturers represented by the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) Further Education Lecturers’ Association (FELA) are seeking a “fair cost of living pay settlement”.
EIS-FELA members have already previously taken four days of strike action in this dispute and have agreed to withdraw goodwill and a boycott of college results systems.
Their employers said they are “disheartened” that lecturers are continuing their strikes during the exam period, but pointed out that the number of people choosing to strike has dropped by a fifth since January.
Heather Stevenson, interim director of employment services at Colleges Scotland Employers’ Association, said: “We are disheartened that the EIS-FELA continue to target the students by striking during the exam period and withholding their assessment results from colleges.
“However, colleges have put contingency plans in place, and they are telling us that the strikes are not having an impact and business is continuing as normal.
“We have put forward an improved offer to the EIS-FELA which would see lecturers’ salaries across Scotland increase on average by over £5,000 or more than 13 per cent– over three years from the combination of pay rises from National Bargaining’s salary harmonisation and the additional pay offer, putting unpromoted lecturers at the top of the pay scale on £41,426.
“By comparison, lecturers in England are on an average salary of approximately £31,000.”
Last week, the EIS called off a planned day of strike action to facilitate further talks in the hope of reaching a negotiated agreement.
Pam Currie, EIS-FELA president, said: “It is hugely disappointing that Colleges Scotland are seeking to link terms and conditions with a fair cost of living pay rise.
We are balloting our members on national terms and conditions which we agreed with college management as a separate workstream. “
She added: “The EIS would urge colleges to come back to the negotiating table, ready to engage in talks on a meaningful basis, so that we can agree a fair pay settlement that will allow lecturers to return to working normally in support of students across the country.”