By Charlie Kimber
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Scottish college lecturers powerful strike for a pay rise

This article is over 2 years, 10 months old
Issue 2647
A strong response at Glasgow Clyde Colleges Langside site
A strong response at Glasgow Clyde College’s Langside site (Pic: @lavamania on Twitter)

Thousands of college lecturers across Scotland held their fourth national strike over pay and conditions on Thursday.

College lecturers in the EIS-FELA union have not had a cost of living pay rise for nearly three years.

They fought for and won harmonised equal pay across the sector, but management now want them to pay for that by holding down future increases.

The present offer amounts to 2 percent over three years.

John Kelly, EIS-FELA branch secretary at West College Scotland, told Socialist Worker, “It’s a very solid strike. At my college on the Paisley campus we have more pickets out than before.

“People are furious that management are demanding we accept worse terms and conditions for any possible pay rise.

“In particular they want to take away an agreement they made where fixed-term and part-time contracts are made permanent after two years based on the hours they work. Now they want exceptions to that.

“It will clear the way to casualisation and hit some of our most insecure members.

“There are more part-time workers picketing today because of this.”

Defiant at Moray College
Defiant at Moray College (Pic: @EISFELAMorayCol on Twitter)

Alongside the strikes, lecturers are also balloting for a boycott of college results systems and a withdrawal of goodwill.

The ballot closes on 28 March.

Last week, delegates at the EIS-FELA annual general meeting unanimously backed a vote of no confidence in the management body, Colleges Scotland, following its failure “to negotiate in good faith towards a fair pay settlement”.

Many strikers are angry that the SNP-led Scottish government has not intervened to force management to concede to the union’s demands.

EIS general secretary Larry Flanagan said, “EIS-FELA members have stood strong and united throughout this strike while Colleges Scotland has shown it is unwilling to engage in meaningful negotiations. It is now time for the Scottish Government to step in to facilitate a negotiated agreement.”

Inverness was solid
Inverness was solid (Pic: @Inverness_eisfe on Twitter)

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard was on the picket line at New College Lanarkshire and said, “ Proud to stand alongside college lecturers on their picket line this morning. They need a fair deal and come rain or shine Scottish Labour will be on their side.”

That’s good to hear, although workers who have been on the receiving end of Labour cuts may feel his sympathy is selective.

College lecturers need to escalate their action to break the resistance of management and the Scottish government that stands behind them.

And there can be no concessions to the demands for worse terms and conditions.

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