Scotland politics

Support staff at Scottish colleges go on strike

College students Image copyright SPL

Colleges across Scotland are facing a day of disruption due to a strike by support staff.

Unison members are calling for a pay rise of at least £450 to match one given to teaching staff.

The union said the pay dispute involved 2,300 support workers across 20 further education (FE) colleges where pickets would take place.

Colleges Scotland said support workers were already getting a deal comparable to the deal accepted by lecturers.

Unison said the strike meant that some classes would be cancelled, workplace nurseries closed and school pupils denied vocational training.

'Good deal'

Scottish organiser John Gallacher, said: "It is tragic that the FE employers failed to resolve this dispute before it happened.

"The difference between what the employers had offered and what would have solved the dispute was a bridgeable gap.

"Instead of crossing the bridge to settlement talks, the FE employers' association has chosen conflict with difficult consequences for the sector and its students."

Colleges Scotland Employers' Association said a small number of colleges were being forced to close but it had been able to keep the majority of colleges open.

A spokesman added: "Unison is demanding a flat cash increase of £450 for all support staff for 2016/17, however, their members are already getting a good deal which exceeds public sector pay and which is comparable to the deal already accepted by lecturers.

"Their demands come at a time when many Unison members received above inflation pay rises earlier this year, on top of a reduction in working hours and additional holiday leave. Unison's demands are not financially sustainable going forward."

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