Scottish college lecturers stand firm against pay cuts (Photo: twitter/@EISUnion)

College lecturers in the EIS union struck across Scotland last week and were set for more strikes this week.

They are right to continue their fight over pay and other issues during the election campaign. They walked out on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday last week and planned action on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday this week. The pay fight dates back to 2022.

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.

And talks over a fourth year of the deal saw bosses last week offer just a 2 percent rise—another
cut in real terms.

On Monday the EIS said, “Lecturers now enter a new week of strikes with strong attendance at picket lines this morning. We are clear that EISFELA lecturers will not be bullied into giving up. We will continue to fight in this dispute and fight for the future of FE in Scotland.”

The Scottish government last week stepped up its solidarity—with the bosses.

The minister for further and higher education, Graeme Dey, backed college management’s use of “deeming”—withholding up to 100 percent of pay from workers taking industrial action short of strike (Asos).

EIS general secretary Andrea Bradley said, “We very firmly reject any suggestion that we call a halt to action in order to stop colleges from deeming lecturers’ pay.

“We will end the action when college employers, assisted by the Scottish government, if need be, finally put enough money on the table to enable an acceptable settlement to be reached.

“Past evidence clearly shows that this is more rather than less likely to happen with sustained industrial action, including Asos, by our members.”

Pay is central to the strikes, but so is the whole future of Scottish further education. Among the many cuts threatened at colleges is the closure of Scotland’s leading training centres for union reps. City of Glasgow College operates the TUC Education Centre in partnership with the Trade Union Congress. But the college is now saying it might end.

Everyone should back the strikes, and the EIS should escalate them.

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