Socialist Worker

Scottish further education lecturers plan strikes in January

Issue No. 2635

Celebrating strike success in 2017

Celebrating strike success in 2017 (Pic: Duncan Brown)


Further education lecturers in the Scottish EIS union are to strike over pay from 16 January. In a ballot they voted 90 percent for action on a 52 percent turnout.  

EIS general secretary Larry Flanagan said, "EIS-FELA members are asking only for a fair cost of living increase, and this has been refused by management-side negotiators. This resounding ballot result is a clear indication of the frustration and anger that our members are feeling.

"College management has dragged this process out for two years, using the delivery of equal pay across the sector as a barrier to negotiation and using conflated figures in publicity to obfuscate the pay claim."

The employers hoped to claw something back after lecturers' all-out action in 2017 won equal pay across the college sector.

Management argue lecturers therefore deserve much less than the cost-of-living rises managers have paid FE support staff - and taken for themselves.

Lecturers are having none of it. Equal pay across the college sector was long overdue, but that does not address inflation.

The employers have been dragging their feet for months and insisting on a "take it or leave it" paltry offer of 2.5 percent spread over three years.

Escalation

The lecturers’ campaign, which involves a slow escalation from one day per month till March and then more days of strike, is designed to force management to think again and treat negotiations seriously.

This strong ballot result has a wider significance for the EIS, a union which includes both lecturers and school teachers in its ranks.

FE’s strike success last year was an example of how to win that has stimulated the EIS school teachers’ own pay campaign for a 10 percent rise now.

Around 30,000 out of 50,000 members recently marched through Glasgow, and a very strong indicative ballot result came in shortly afterwards. With school teachers moving towards a likely statutory ballot early in 2019, it was important that FE militancy still showed its strength and proved the Tories’ anti-union ballot thresholds can be beaten.

With university sector EIS members also balloting, it is possible that strike action stretching from primaries to colleges and universities will be seen in 2019.’

 


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