Lecturers in three Scottish colleges will start three days of targeted strike action, in colleges based in the constituencies of key Scottish Government decision makers.
The targeted action is the latest step in a national industrial action campaign in a long-running dispute over pay and job security.
The action will take place at Glasgow Clyde College, Fife College and Dundee & Angus College, which sit within the constituency areas of the First Minister, the Deputy First Minister, the Cabinet Secretary for Education and the Minister for Further Education.
To support the action, EIS General Secretary Andrea Bradley has written to the First Minister, and copies of the letter will be hand-delivered to each of the First Minister’s constituency office, official residence and the Scottish Parliament over the 3-days of the dispute. Copies of the letter will also be delivered to the other Ministers.
Members of EIS-FELA have been undertaking industrial action short of strike since May 2023 and began strike action earlier this month, faced with a pay offer from College Employers Scotland (CES) that would cost potentially over 400 lecturing jobs.
Despite recent discussions between EIS-FELA, CES and the Minister for Further Education, Graeme Dey, the representatives of college employers have yet to make any progress towards an improved offer on pay and job security.
In the letter to the First Minister, EIS General Secretary Andrea Bradley says, “I am writing to you on behalf of the EIS-Further Education Lecturers Association (EIS-FELA), who represent Scotland’s college lecturer workforce and are currently engaged in national strike action for fair pay and job security… Audit Scotland recently published a report, on the same day that national EIS-FELA strike action began, that cited a real terms cut of 8.5% in college funding since 2021.
“This reduction seriously compounds the impact of the previous years of chronic underfunding, leaving the Further Education sector facing a deepening crisis. This crisis can no longer be ignored by the Scottish Government and its share of the responsibility can no longer be ignored or denied.”
Ms Bradley’s letter continues, “As you will no doubt be aware, colleges are public sector institutions and the Scottish Government is responsible, to the Scottish Parliament, for their governance and operation.
“To continue to allow the abandonment of the Scottish Government’s own ‘no public sector redundancy’ policy in the Further Education sector is nothing short of a betrayal of hard-working staff in colleges throughout the country and sets a concerning precedent for the rest of Scotland’s public sector.”
The letter adds, “We believe it imperative that you as First Minister now intervene to ensure that public sector jobs are fully protected within the FE sector and that lecturers (and support staff colleagues) receive a satisfactory pay award – one that is now more than a year late.
“More than a year overdue in the midst of the worst cost of living crisis in 70 years.”