Socialist Worker

National pay fight looms in Scotland's colleges

Issue No. 2486

Over 4,000 lecturers across Scotland’s further education (FE) colleges are set to begin a national strike ballot over pay on 20 January.

The EIS-Fela union members are campaigning for equal pay and to reverse years declining income.

National bargaining was supposed to return to FE after two decades but college bosses have resisted it.

Workers roundly rejected a measly 1 percent pay offer last year.

At the same time the Scottish National Party (SNP) government has embarked on a major reorganisation of the sector with mergers and the creation of new regional colleges.

But it has been a cover for imposing cuts that have led to a dramatic drop in students, staff and funding. Meanwhile top bosses have trousered millions of pounds of public money by giving themselves handsome redundancy packages.

Bosses say there is no money to fund equal pay.

But colleges have squirreled away £99 million in Arms Length Foundations, hold £214 million in historic surpluses, and there was a £163 million underspend on education last year.

Workers’ claims would cost just £15 million to meet in full.

EIS activists now need to build for the biggest possible vote for strikes. The ballot is set to end on 10 February.

Workers at the University of Aberdeen have voted overwhelmingly for strikes to save jobs.

The UCU union members backed strikes by 74 percent in a ballot.

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Article information

Tue 12 Jan 2016, 16:46 GMT
Issue No. 2486
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