College lecturers set to take further strike action
Turnout in the ballot was 52 percent, with 90 percent of those voting backing the move to strike action, above that needed under the Tories' Trade Union Act.
The offer, a 2.5 percent increase over three years has been labelled as a 'real-terms pay cut' by the Educational Institute, who also said it would mean a functional pay cap for Further Education Lecturers at a time where the cap is being lifted in rest of the public sector.
Commenting on the ballot, EIS-FELA President Pam Currie said, “EIS-FELA members have voted overwhelmingly for strike action in pursuit of a fair cost of living pay award. We are taking this action as a last resort, as the result of management’s unwillingness to negotiate a fair offer. Lecturers do not take strike action lightly, and we have done everything that we can over the past two years of talks to attempt to reach a fair negotiated settlement."
"We have repeatedly sought to engage management in meaningful negotiations and formally submitted a revised claim based on public sector pay policy in line with the offer made to support staff. Even at this late stage, we hope that college management will now come back to the table to begin meaningful negotiations and deliver a cost of living increase similar to others in the public sector.”
EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan added, “EIS-FELA members are asking only for a fair cost of living increase, and this has been refused by management side negotiators. Today’s resounding ballot result is a clear indication of the frustration and anger that our members are feeling. College management has dragged this process out for two years, using the delivery of equal pay across the sector as a barrier to negotiation and using conflated figures in publicity to obfuscate the pay claim."
Colleges Scotland defended the pay offer, with John Gribben, Director of Employment Services at Colleges Scotland Employers’ Association, accusing the unions of "intransigence".
“It is extremely disappointing that EIS-FELA’s intransigence and refusal to recognise the substantial average pay increases from National Bargaining’s salary harmonisation are pay rises as it is destabilising the sector and threatening a significant number of jobs. A pay rise is a pay rise irrespective of where it comes from and they are rejecting a combined pay offer which would be the best ever deal for college lecturers and see average pay rises of more than 12% over three years."