Forth Valley College lecturers in the EIS-Further Education Lecturers’ Association (FELA) union began a campaign of industrial action last week.
They are fighting a move which saw 67 lecturers being told their jobs had disappeared.
To retain employment they must apply for an “instructor’ post”.
This means significantly worse pay and conditions, yet the actual teaching expected stays exactly the same.
With up to a third more classes on timetables, virtually no preparation or marking time, it will not only be lecturers, but students who would suffer.
It is important that trade unionists, especially those in education, back Forth Valley, whether they live in Scotland or not.
The management at Forth Valley is threatening to deduct substantial pay when workers take action short of strike.
It is important that lecturers know that they are not alone when they take a stand.
It may be that an all out strike will soon be put forward.
But the ramifications of this dispute go beyond the college. The Scottish employers’ association has made it plain it intends to roll out this outrageous programme across the country. So EIS-FELA is launching a national indicative ballot and may well join with our colleagues in Forth Valley in the New Year.
EIS-FELA has fought and won strikes on a number of occasions since 2015. So the employers have decided to try and abolish lecturers, replacing them with a downgraded post.
With Scottish parliament elections set for the spring the SNP government, which has been sitting on the fence on this issue, had better watch out. But Forth Valley can’t wait till then. It needs to win, and any message of support will be greatly appreciated.