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Jobs revolt brewing in some Scottish colleges

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Scottish college workers are fighting back against attacks from the SNP government. Workers plan to strike at the next academic year
Issue 2855
Eleven people in very brigth high visibility clothing on an EIS union picket line during the Scottish teachers' strikes

Vibrant picket lines during the EIS teachers’ strike (Picture: EIS)

Scottish college workers are fighting back against a host of attacks from the SNP government. Nationally, EIS-FELA members are carrying out national action short of a strike, which involves them withholding student results from college systems. They plan to strike at the start of the next academic year. Lecturers at the City of Glasgow College, the largest in the country, are mounting resistance after bosses announced plans to slash 100 jobs. 

They plan to be out on all-out indefinite strike from 30 May. At Edinburgh College—the second largest in the country—lecturers backed off from planned strikes of four days every week. Bosses are threatening to slash four jobs at the college, but now say that they are investigating redeployment options.

Defend the curriculum

Angry workers at Newham Sixth Form (Newvic) are determined to resist poor management practices and redundancy threats. Management is trying to force through a slimming down of the curriculum, and therefore a smaller workforce. It would see students pushed towards science, technology, engineering and mathematics courses.

Newvic has been a lifesaver for thousands of children in Newham, east London. Other colleges and sixth forms won’t take, or keep, students who have low GCSE results, are not on target for expected grades, or face difficulties. The college needs to keep a wide range of subjects and courses to meet the diverse needs of our young people. 

Miriam Scharf

Strikes in Barnet…

Workers at Barnet and Southgate College, north London, are planning strikes over pay at a crucial time in the term. They’re planning to walk out during the exam period, because bosses offered them a pay “rise” of just 1 percent. They voted by an impressive 96 percent for the action. The UCU members are planning to strike next Friday and on 5 and 7 June.

…and Manchester

Workers at Manchester College and UCEN Manchester are set to take to picket lines again to beat a pay offer of just 2.7 percent. Now the UCU members were planning to launch a five-day strike from Monday this week, followed by another five-day strike next week. The workers, who have already struck for five days this year, are planning to finish off their action on 5 and 7 June.

  • Support workers at a school in Leicester struck defiantly against poor pay on Tuesday and Wednesday this week. Some 21 Unison union members at the Ash Field Academy Trust are fighting a below-inflation pay offer of just £1,925 a year. 

Teaching assistants, administrative officers and residential support workers at the special needs trust are raging against the paltry offer. One support worker said, “My wage barely covers my rent. We do very skilled work that we are massively underpaid for.

“We are losing staff because of this. Experienced staff are leaving to go and work elsewhere not because of the job, but because of the pay.” Workers are due to strike again on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday next week.

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