Classes cancelled on the eve of 18 days of strike action at Forth Valley College

Starting from tomorrow over 200 EIS members at Forth Valley College (FVC) will be taking strike action over a dispute regarding a removal of lecturer posts.

Tuesday, 16th March 2021, 5:17 pm

As a result FVC has decided to cancel tomorrow’s classes, stating it aims to minimise the impact on learning and teaching at the college.

Staff will be striking across three different campuses, including Falkirk, Alloa, and Stirling, from Wednesday, March 17 for 18 days over the next three months.

The decision to take industrial action follows a strike ballot that resulted in 77 per cent of members voting yes to strikes, on a 55 per cent turnout.

Classes have been cancelled at Forth Valley College tomorrow as EIS members commence strike action

This latest escalation follows a failure to resolve a year-long dispute between union and the employer over the replacement of lecturers’ posts with support staff across different departments – including hairdressing, construction, engineering, and care.

According to the EIS the new roles are lower paid and, controversially, don’t require any teaching qualification.The EIS states its members are being asked to do the same job, but with much lower pay, less annual leave, and no limit to class contact time.

Larry Flanagan, EIS general secretary, said “We are very concerned about the removal of the role of qualified and experienced lecturers in Scottish further education. We won’t accept that for our members and we won’t accept it for students. I urge Forth Valley college management to do the right thing and review these posts as a matter of urgency.”

Anne-Marie Harley, EIS branch convener, added: “It is unforgivable that we’ve had to deal with this during a global pandemic - on top of everything else. My colleagues have seen a huge increase in workload. At the minute, there is just not enough time for my colleagues to mark and prepare work the way they used to. We know our students and we want what’s best for them - that’s qualified and experienced lecturers.”

Kenny MacInnes, FVC vice principal, said: “In the best interests of learners, we have taken the decision that all classes will be cancelled on Wednesday, unless

alternative arrangements are put in place by individual departments.

“Beyond Wednesday we will review the situation for further dates of proposed action. Our aim is to minimise the impact on learning and teaching, wherever possible, and continue to deliver the best possible learning experiences for our students whilst a resolution is found for this dispute.

“A key priority is to ensure these students can complete their qualification and move forward onto their next steps. The College has been clear from the outset that the role of Instructor Assessor as an integral and valuable part of our delivery portfolio, will not be removed from our

organisational structure.

"There are currently 44 Instructor Assessors in post and some of these are new members of staff. These roles are supporting our vision for 2030 to ensure we have a sustainable college for the future.

"Moving forward, we will continue to listen and engage with EIS-FELA. However, our position is that we require an acceptance from EIS-FELA in regards to the role, as

the college believes this is the right approach as we align our national delivery model to industry standards.”