Pictures: College lecturers launch large scale protest during equal pay strike

03/05/2017
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EIS union accuses College bosses and Scottish Government of failing to comply with historic 2016 agreement

HUNDRED’s of college lecturers gathered in Glasgow’s George Square today to demand college bosses submit to an agreement reached after an historic strike in 2016.

EIS education union members chanted demands for college management, represented by Colleges Scotland to meet the terms for pay harmonisation agreed in March 2016.

Some lecturers could have expected a pay increases as high as 33 per cent after the agreement to raise pay to the same levels at colleges across Scotland – though most would see a much smaller pay increase and many strikers were striking purely for the principal of equal pay.

Members were out on strike across Scotland for the full day (3 May), and protested in the city centre from 1pm. They were also supported by members of the Unison trade union.

EIS Further Education (FELA) chief John Kelly old the crowds of union members: “This dispute is all about trust.

“Thirteen months ago these people [college managers] signed an agreement, couldn’t be clearer, the equal pay should have started by now.”

“The first pay should have started on the 1 April. They are choosing not to pay it.

Kelly also said that conditions placed on the harmonisation of pay, such as a reduction to preparation time, were unacceptable as they would undermine the quality of education provided to students.

“A key thing that we know because we work in it everyday. FE delivers high quality learning, and the key thing about that is, prep[aration] time matters,” he said.

EIS FELA vice president Pam Currie said welcomed strikes at colleges across the country,  some of which were taking industrial action “for the first time ever”, in repudiation of claims that militancy was concentrated among “rabble rousers in the central belt”.

Read more – Militancy works: Historic education strike ends with stunning victory for lecturers

Charlie Montgomery, salaries convenor for EIS demanded intervention from the Scottish Government, and said that the SNP administration had promised the union not only national bargaining but equal pay at FE’s across the country.

Speaking to CommonSpace Lorraine Cowan, a lecturer at New College Lanarkshire said reducing preparation time “would have a devastating impact” on the quality of education for students.

The ongoing dispute has seen the return of national bargaining in the FE sector and resulted in victories unheard of in recent years for workers.

A spokesperson for the Colleges Scotland employers’ association said: “The employers put forward three new proposals today in addition to the average pay increase of 9%. However, disappointingly, the EIS has rejected these.

“The EIS is so far unwilling to accept the terms the union signed up to last March, which was clearly about pay and conditions.

“Our number one priority is ensuring that students are not affected by more disruption, and we urge the EIS to accept the very reasonable and fair offer that is on the table.

“We have offered to meet with the EIS again this week on Wednesday 3 May 2017 and Friday 5 May 2017 to continue talks.”

CommonSpace approached the Scottish Government for comment, but they had not provided one by time of publication.

 

 

Pictures: CommonSpace

Video: Twitter/ Cailean Gallagehr

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