Scotland

College lecturers set to escalate strike action over pay

Students
Image caption The strikes could lead to disruption for some students in the run-up to exams

Scottish college lecturers are planning an escalating programme of national strikes in a dispute over pay.

Members of the EIS Further Education Lecturers' Association want to see more action taken to end differences in pay between colleges.

The first 24-hour strike is planned for next Thursday.

Colleges Scotland, which represents colleges, said the dispute was "unnecessary" and progress was being made to address the union's concerns.

But, the union said if the dispute was not settled by the middle of next month they will strike for three days every week.

The proposed strike dates are:

  • Thursday 27 April
  • Wednesday 3 May
  • Tuesday 9 May and Thursday 11 May
  • Tuesday 16 May and Wednesday 17 May
  • Tuesday 23 May, Wednesday 24 May and Thursday 25 May
  • Tuesday 30 May, Wednesday 31 May and Thursday 1 June 2017

The dispute is, in effect, a continuation of one which last year led to the first national strike in Scotland's colleges for decades.

A similar programme of escalating action was planned then but a deal was struck after one day of action.

Senior figures within the union are hopeful the dispute will be resolved without the need to escalate action. They believe there could be political pressure to solve the dispute quickly because of both the council elections and the general election campaign.

Colleges have been through a huge shake-up in recent years, merging into so-called regional super-colleges with national pay bargaining reintroduced.

Colleges had previously been free to set their own terms and conditions. But the union has highlighted examples of lecturers doing virtually identical jobs at different colleges, but with pay as much as £10,000 apart.

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