College lecturers' strike to go ahead after talks fail

College students Image copyright SPL

A strike by lecturers is to go ahead on Thursday after fresh talks between management and union leaders ended without agreement.

The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) said Colleges Scotland failed to deliver on a deal agreed last year.

However, Colleges Scotland insisted the offer it had put forward was fair.

Both parties agreed to a meeting held through Acas in a bid to resolve the dispute, but the EIS said no progress was made and the strike would go ahead.

The college body claimed EIS was striking "to get more money for less work", with the union accusing Colleges Scotland of attempting to "peddle alternative facts".

College staff walked out on strike for a day in March 2016 and had more than 30 days of action planned before accepting a revised offer from Colleges Scotland, with staff promised wage rises as well as work between colleges and the union to develop a more "harmonised" pay deal across the workforce.

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

Larry Flanagan, general secretary of the teaching union, said: "EIS negotiators entered into today's talks, under the auspices of Acas, in good faith but were met with yet more management intransigence.

"Management have, once again, refused to honour the deal they signed up to a year ago and so the planned strike for Thursday will go ahead as scheduled.

"Despite what Colleges Scotland are claiming, through their unnamed spokesperson, the EIS is not striking to get more money. The EIS is striking to get the binding agreement made last March implemented - the amounts of money involved have already been agreed and the funding is sitting in college bank accounts.

"The EIS has already demonstrated compromise in the negotiations with Colleges Scotland, negotiations that have already agreed national pay scales, pay migration and harmonisation and most national conditions of service. This dispute could be settled by management simply delivering what they already agreed to last year."

Colleges Scotland said it was willing to take part in further talks.

Three strikes a week

A spokeswoman said: "The EIS needs to show a willingness to compromise. They are striking to get more money for less work, when the deal put on the table by employers is not only fair but beneficial as it equates to an average pay rise of 9% for lecturers over the next two years.

"The only thing standing between lecturers and an average pay rise of 9% is the EIS's insistence on 66 days' holiday and a teaching working week of just 21 hours.

"The employers have already agreed the pay rise and proposed a generous package that would provide 56 days' holiday and 24 hours' class contact with the facility to timetable up to 26 hours in any eight-week period, which members of the public will regard as a very good deal indeed."

She added: "In the end, the EIS are calling a strike because they want more holidays and fewer working hours, and that is simply not realistic.

"Industrial action is wholly unnecessary and disruptive for students in the run-up to exam time, and we are extremely disappointed that the EIS has chosen to take its members down the route of strikes when talks are still ongoing."

The EIS previously said that if the dispute was not settled by the middle of next month members would 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

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