Teachers Union urges Scotland Colleges to ‘return to negotiations’ amidst strike action

Disagreement over wages has sparked strike action amongst college lecturers

The teacher’s trade union,  Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS), has strongly urged Colleges Scotland to ‘return to negotiations’ with EIS further-education lecturers over the proposed living-cost pay rise.

 

 

College lecturers across Scotland went on strike on Wednesday, forcing several colleges to close their doors for the day. Lecturers went on strike over a dispute with Colleges Scotland after they failed to meet their demands.

Members of the EIS Further Education Lecturers’ Association (FELA) are campaigning for a ‘fair’ cost of living pay increase and are yet to reach an agreement with Colleges Scotland.

The EIS claims that FE lecturers have not received a cost of living pay increase since April 2016.

Lecturers voted, overwhelmingly, to picket last month, with 90% of those voting backing the action.

The EIS also states:

“Over the period of the dispute, the EIS has amended its pay claim on a number of occasions in a bid to engage college management in meaningful negotiations.

Since mid-December, the EIS has been seeking further talks with Colleges Scotland in the hope of avoiding strike action by reaching a negotiated solution. However, Colleges Scotland has refused to engage in further negotiations prior to today’s strike.”

Many college lecturers have in fact had a substantial pay rise more recently than 2016, due to an agreement to equalise rates of pay at different colleges. Many would also get such payments this year.

However, some other lecturers – especially those who worked at the colleges which previously had the highest rates of pay – have seen their basic salaries remain unchanged for three years.

As well as branding the pay demands ‘unreasonable’, Colleges Scotland states this as one of the reasons as to why the proposed living cost pay rise is unfeasible.

Colleges Scotland says:

“The minimum pay increase any lecturer in Scotland will receive is £2,600, while some are getting huge increases of almost £20,000.

We urge the EIS-FELA to suspend their disruptive strike action which hits students the hardest and, for the first time in this process, seriously engage with colleges
and recognise how incredibly generous this overall package is.”

However, EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan believes Colleges Scotland are using the delivery of equal pay as ‘a barrier to negotiations’ and distorting figures to obscure the facts.

Negotiations are ongoing and EIS-FELA are planning more picket lines for the future.

 

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