The campaign of strikes by lecturers across Scotland in the EIS-Fela union took a dramatic turn last week.
At issue is the replacement of lecturers by those doing the same job but without the terms and conditions needed to do it well. In the most extreme case, at Forth Valley College, lecturers were fired and rehired as “trainer/assessors”.
Members were furious after the employers walked away from a deal that they themselves proposed.
The two days of strikes a week was set to escalate to three days and there was also added a ballot for action short of strikes.
The escalation was timed to ensure the dispute became an important part of the Holyrood election.
First minister Nicola Sturgeon was forced to say that “fire and rehire is not acceptable” in a direct reference to Forth Valley College.
This pressure meant that negotiations on Friday produced a new deal that is going forward for ratification by both sides.
If implemented it would give the EIS the tools to ensure that lecturers are not replaced.
However, ratification and implementation have not happened yet. And until then it’s essential to keep up the pressure.
National strikes were suspended for two of the three days this week but will resume if ratification is not forthcoming.
Forth Valley branch is not waiting for the machinery to grind along.
It is out three days this week to demand the immediate reinstatement of former lecturers to their posts.