Scots College Lecturers Vote For Strike Action

4 March 2016, 17:32 | Updated: 30 March 2016, 13:50

College lecturers are to take strike action as part of a long-running dispute over pay.

The EIS trade union said an "overwhelming'' 87.6% of college members who voted in a ballot had backed industrial action.

Lecturers plan to strike on Thursday March 17, with a two-day stoppage planned for the following week.

The union is also planning a series of three-day stoppages, which would see lecturers strike on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays throughout April, May and June.

College staff have been offered a wage rise of 1% but the union wants action to tackle the wide variation in pay across the sector.

More than three-fifths (61%) of EIS members working in colleges voted in the ballot, with union general secretary Larry Flanagan saying: "These are overwhelming ballot results, which clearly demonstrate the depth of frustration that lecturers are feeling over the lack of progress towards equal pay.

"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.

"These emphatic votes for strike action are the result of broken promises that were made to lecturers."

Shona Struthers, the chief executive of Colleges Scotland, said: "We acknowledge the outcome of today's ballot, where around half of the EIS membership has voted to strike.

"Staff at all levels in colleges were offered a 1% pay rise, which is in line with other public sector agreements, and this was accepted by three of the four trade unions in Scotland's colleges.

"It is the best possible offer in the current difficult funding situation, because there are simply no additional resources available to finance a deal beyond that which has already been offered - and accepted by the other three unions.

"We are working with all stakeholders to resolve this issue as soon as possible to ensure that students face minimal disruption during the EIS action. Meaningful discussion took place yesterday through the National Joint Negotiating Committee and we have agreed to meet again on Thursday March 24.

"And we will continue working with all of the trade unions to progress harmonisation of pay and conditions across the college sector in Scotland, and to develop our colleges so that they are equipped and staffed for the challenges of future - meeting the needs of students and the economy for years to come.''