By Émer O’Toole, Editor in Chief
College lecturers in Scotland are preparing to strike, as they look set to reject a final pay offer from college bosses.
Union leaders say lecturers have become “increasingly” angry about the delay in the pay negotiation and the final offer by the employees.
The final pay offer of a 1% consolidated pay award to lecturers replaces the previous “risible” offer of 1% “unconsolidated” pay award, the unconsolidated – or across the board – offer being a first in the Scottish public sector. Lecturers are also concerned that the 1% offer to all lecturers will add to the significant differences in pay levels that have developed across colleges.
The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) believes this round of negotiations must attempt to start correcting these pay imbalances rather than worsen them by awarding a percentage increase and has called on the government to intervene.
Unions want all unpromoted lecturers to earn up to £40,386, amounting to an uplift of between 3.3% and 25% across the best and worst-paying colleges.
A 1% rise across-the-board would widen pay disparities as top earners would get £390 extra while lower-paid staff would get much less. The issue is to be discussed at a EIS-FLA meeting in Glasgow at the end of the month.
EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan described the negotiation as “unacceptable.”
“It is unacceptable for the management side to drag the pay round for almost a year, only to then offer exactly the same cash-terms percentage pay rise that was previously proposed and rejected.”
“The Scottish Government should now act to ensure a satisfactory outcome. It is highly likely, given the current mood, that an overwhelming rejection of the pay offer and a move towards a campaign of industrial action will be the most likely outcomes.”
A government spokesman said: “It is disappointing that more progress has not been made in setting this year’s pay deal but we hope [discussions] will result in a settlement being agreed.”
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