By Charlie Kimber
Downloading PDF. Please wait... Issue 2906

Scottish college lecturers strike against poverty pay

Strikers blame the Scottish government and the college bosses
Issue 2906
Eight people on the EIS picket line illustrating an article about the Scottish college strike

EIS-Fela union members at New College Lanarkshire during the Scottish college strike (Picture:

College lecturers across Scotland have begun nine days of strikes as part of a long-running pay battle.

Strikes began on Monday this week and were set to continue on Thursday and then on Tuesday and Thursday next week. The EIS-Fela union members plan five more dates after that (see list below).

Lecturer Rory spoke to Socialist Worker from the picket line in Glasgow. “This has dragged on because the employers and the Scottish government just won’t fund education and the people who provide it,” he said. “I’m glad to say there’s no sign of staff giving up the fight.

“We have tried just a few colleges striking at a time and it didn’t put on enough pressure. It’s good we are all out together now, and I think that is the best way to move forward.”

The workers are walking out after talks last week did not produce a deal in a battle that dates back to 2022. The union put forward a revised four-year pay claim last week but said employers did not offer enough to consider suspending strikes.

An EIS spokesperson said, “College lecturing staff want to be back in colleges, delivering classes and helping their students achieve their qualifications. However, they will continue to fight in order to receive a suitable pay rise which addresses some of the financial pain and stress they have had to endure during the worst cost of living crisis in recent times.”

Bosses have offered a £5,000 pay rise over three academic years from September 2022. Because of the period it covers—when inflation soared—the “rise” is actually a pay cut

Students back the action. NUS Scotland student union president Ellie Gomersall said, “Nine of the last ten years have seen industrial action in Scotland’s colleges and this year is no different, as lecturers currently strike for fair pay.

“We stand in full solidarity with them and ask you to end this cycle of crises by immediately providing funding for a fair resolution to the ongoing industrial disputes.”

Gomersall called for “reversing the £60 million of real terms cuts made to colleges in this year’s budget”.


Strikes to come
  • Thursday 23 May
  • Tuesday 28 May
  • Thursday 30 May
  • Friday 31 May
  • Monday 3 June
  • Tuesday 4 June
  • Wednesday 5 June
  • Friday 7 June

School ballot in Glasgow

The Glasgow EIS union branch has launched a consultative strike ballot over the council’s planned education cuts.

It runs for three weeks and centres on cuts to teacher numbers which has already seen 125 teachers lost this year, with a further 172 set to go. In total the Scottish National Party-led council is set to axe 450 teaching posts lost over three years.

The union says, “If these cuts are not reversed, EIS Glasgow is clear that the damage to education provision in the city will be profound. It will have a drastic impact on our pupils for years to come, most especially for those with Additional Support Needs.

“Further, these cuts will have an adverse impact on the sustainability of teacher workload and teacher wellbeing. With posts being cut now in preparation for next session, many of our most recently qualified teachers are facing unemployment.”

Other unions and parents’ organisations are also opposing the cuts.

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