EIS urges minister to intervene in college pay row


By Émer O’Toole, Editor-in-Chief


The Scottish Government has been called to intervene in a pay dispute between college bosses and a trade union.

The EIS teaching union demanded Education Secretary, Angela Constance, to take “immediate action” to prevent Colleges Scotland from imposing a deal on staff.

Final arrangements for a ballot of union members over the deal will be discussed in a union meeting on 12 February.

Ahead of that, EIS general secretary Larry Flanagan warned that “this intended imposition by colleges of a previously rejected pay offer will simply anger lecturers and ensure an even greater vote for strike action.”

College staff have been offered a a wage rise of 1% but the union wants action to tackle the wide variation in pay across the sector.

Flanagan said: “Management have refused to consider any moves towards such a set of national pay scales and the principle of equal pay across the sector.

“Indeed, the imposition of this change in pay will increase differentials between colleges rather than reduce them.

“This proposed action exposes the management side’s lack of any meaningful commitment to the process of national bargaining.”

The union is about to begin staging a statutory ballot for industrial action, he added, with final arrangements to be discussed by the executive of its Further Education Lecturers’ Association.

Its call for the Education Secretary to intervene was backed by the Scottish Greens, with education spokeswoman and Holyrood Highlands and Islands candidate Isla O’Reilly stating: “For our colleges to keep providing high-quality education, staff have to be properly supported to do their jobs.”

“With the mounting pressure on wages and crumbling trust between workers and management, disregarding the national bargaining process is simply unacceptable.”

“I urge Angela Constance to step in and ensure that college leadership gets back around the table and a fairer pay deal is agreed on by all parties involved.”