EIS union says victory could embolden other public sector workers
COLLEGE LECTURERS have scored a second victory in their long running pay equalisation dispute with further education (FE) bosses.
After a campaign of strikes and demonstrations, involving thousands of lecturers that maintained nationwide support, Colleges Scotland agreed to honour a deal made to level lecturers up to the same pay across Scotland – an agreement initially reached over a year ago.
EIS general secretary Larry Flanagan said: “Following a further round of talks today we have reached a position where Colleges Scotland have agreed to Honour the Deal.
“This is a significant victory for EIS-FELA members and it means that the employers will move immediately to implement Phase 1 of the March 2016 pay agreement.”
“As a result, all future planned strike action is suspended.”
He added that public sector workers in various secotrs could take heart in the victory.
It cements the prestige of a union operation which has won astonishing victories in recent months. The victory in March 2016 saw some lower-paid college teachers facing pay increases of up to 33 per cent.
The union took further strike action in recent weeks because, it said, Colleges Scotland – which represents college managements – tried to add conditions to the pay increase, including a reduction in the preparation time teachers get outside of classes.
The strike also came into conflict with the Scottish Government, which unions claimed abandoned a guarantee of support for pay equalisation, despite support for collective bargaining in the FE sector.
Quoted in the Forfar Dispatch, deputy first minister John Swinney said: “I am delighted that the intervention made by the Scottish Government over the last week has helped to facilitate an agreement to end the dispute between the EIS and the College Employers’ Association.
“Having put in place arrangements to allow for national bargaining, it has always been the case that resolution of this issue lay in the hands of employers and the union.”
Pay restraint across the UK and Scotland has seen wages among some public sector and government employees fall as far as 20 per cent over three years. Average pay has fallen by 10.4 per cent across the UK economy since 2007, a collapse in pay unprecedented in well over a hundred years.
The EIS victory underlines a mild up-tick in industrial activism in recent years.
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