Socialist Worker

Two days of strikes at colleges in Scotland

by Charlie Kimber
Issue No. 2655

On the Perth College picket line

On the Perth College picket line


Thousands of college lecturers struck across Scotland on Wednesday and Thursday of last week.

College lecturers in the EIS-Fela union have not had a cost of living pay rise for nearly three years. It was their fifth and sixth days of national strikes and an escalation from previous one-day actions.

The action was solidly supported and in places involvement is growing.

Lecturers have fought for and won harmonised equal pay across the sector. But management now wants them to pay for that by holding down future increases.

The present offer amounts to just 2 percent over three years.

Lecturers are increasingly demanding action from the Scottish government over the dispute.

One lecturer, addressing first minister Nicola Sturgeon, said, “The fact that Colleges Scotland is an autonomous body does not change the fact that we work for you and you work for us.”

Strikers lobbied the Scottish parliament on Thursday.

Iain Gray, Scottish Labour’s spokesperson for education, said, “I asked the first minister to intervene in the pay dispute.

“All they are looking for is a fair cost of living increase, which they have been denied for three years. She refused.”

EIS-Fela confirmed that its action short of strikes, including withholding examination results, will continue until an agreement is reached. In a new development, the EIS-Fela is to consider targeting particular colleges for extended strikes.

Union general secretary Larry Flanagan said, “Given the strength of the two strike days, we know that members remain committed to achieving a fair cost of living rise.

“Our action short of strike continues.

“And in the event of pay talks failing, we will consider targeted strike action on a sustained basis, if that is what is required.”


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