Socialist Worker

Anger grows in EIS union as Scottish college bosses drag their feet over pay deal

by Raymie Kiernan
Issue No. 2558

Lecturers celebrating after their strike in May

Lecturers celebrating after their strike in May (Pic: Duncan Brown)


Scottish college bosses are still dragging their feet in a long-running dispute over equal pay.

This is despite Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon, further education minister Shirley-Anne Somerville and college bosses agreeing that the money to settle the dispute had been “banked”.

This is fuelling deep anger on campuses across Scotland.

EIS Fela union meetings took place in colleges last week and more were set for this week.

It appears that once again college bosses are trying to renege on a deal they proposed to implement after a series of strikes last month.

They will try whatever they can get away with to break national bargaining

Even though lecturers may once again need walkouts to beat the bosses, unions are learning the lessons of their solid strikes.

At the EIS Fela annual conference last week, general secretary Larry Flanagan urged school teachers to emulate the lecturers to break the 1 percent pay cap.

He said, “With inflation rising and pension and insurance contribution increases now biting, 1 percent won’t cut it.”

Flanagan warned that “a significant battle is looming on this issue”.

“I think it’s time for Scotland’s teachers to fight back,” he said.

Delegates also backed a motion calling for action in September if the Scottish government doesn’t implement a 16 percent pay rise for teachers in the north east of Scotland.


Manchester Metropolitan University lecturers plan strike against job losses

UCU union members at Manchester Metropolitan University were set to begin a two-day strike on Tuesday of next week.

Their action will hit an open day at the university next Wednesday.

Workers are fighting compulsory redundancies.

Over 160 academic staff at the Crewe campus could lose their jobs as bosses plan to close it in August 2019.

There is overwhelming support for the action. Workers backed strikes by 79 percent in a recent ballot.

The bitter dispute has seen bosses banning the UCU from holding meetings on campus.

The student union stepped in to host the meeting, showing the level of student support for the action.

The university has nearly £400 million in reserves.

But the attacks come as workers at a swathe of universities across Britain face cuts, including a threat to 926 jobs at the University of Manchester.

Workers shouldn’t be left to fight alone.

UCU members passed a motion demanding a “national industrial strategy” at the higher education sector conference of the union’s annual congress last month.

It said a national strategy “needs to contain a clear plan for escalation in response to management intimidation if it is to be credible”.

Passing the motion was a defeat for the union leadership. UCU general secretary Sally Hunt had talked up gains won through local action instead.


Click here to subscribe to our daily morning email newsletter 'Breakfast in red'

Mobile users! Don't forget to add Socialist Worker to your home screen.