Forth Valley College EIS members refuse to mark students' work over jobs cut plan

Union members at Forth Valley College are refusing to mark students’ work as a row over cuts to lecturers’ jobs rumbles on.

By Jonathon Reilly
Friday, 11th December 2020, 2:47 pm
Updated Friday, 11th December 2020, 4:52 pm

EIS members have been ‘working to rule’ for a month – doing no more than the minimum contractual requirement – in protest against a move to replace 30 positions with support staff on different terms and conditions across its Falkirk, Alloa and Stirling campuses.

The new roles are lower-paid and involve more class contact hours, less time for preparation and reduced annual leave.

Members have confirmed they plan to escalate their industrial action following a recent offer to settle the dispute from college management.

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Forth Valley College's Falkirk campus has been impacted by EIS members' industrial action. Picture: Michael Gillen.

According to the EIS, FVC’s offer puts lecturers’ roles at risk in the future and does nothing to help those whose terms and conditions have already been impacted.

Members view the proposal to introduce the new ‘instructor assessor’ roles as a cost-cutting exercise.

However, the college insists its plan enhances learning and teaching.

Alison Addie, FVC EIS branch representative, said: “Staff are at breaking point.

“Management have put a huge amount of pressure on us during an already stressful period.

“We will continue to take action until Forth Valley College management see sense and do the right thing. Lecturers just want their jobs back before Christmas.”

Larry Flanagan, EIS general secretary, added: “The college’s recent offer is an insult to those members who have been forced to accept lower quality contracts or be made redundant.

“We urge Forth Valley College management to give their hard-working staff the respect they deserve at this time of national crisis.”

Dr Ken Thomson, FVC principal, said: “Firstly, it should be noted that the instructor assessor positions are not new roles and have been in place within the college sector for a considerable number of years.

“The post is now established at the college – and within other colleges throughout the country – and we are confident it will strengthen our delivery model and benefit our students.

“We have secured other roles for those affected with their salary conserved for four years. We reduced the number of posts at risk.

“We took on board staff feedback and suggestions in order to make this happen. We offered an attractive voluntary severance package and importantly, we have not made a single person redundant.

“We recognise that any organisational change is difficult. The well-being of our colleagues is a top priority and we have support in place to help them through this entire process.

“I have been made aware of a situation where an instructor assessor had to do more hours due to exceptional circumstances. This is not the norm for the college and I have given instruction to ensure that this will not happen in the future.”

Dr Thomson added: “For clarity, the EIS national dispute is to stop the introduction of instructor assessor posts across the sector.

“I understand EIS/FELA’s right to ballot and to vote for what they believe is correct. However, I would ask that staff fully consider the final offer – a decision on which has to be returned to Forth Valley College management by Friday, December 18.

“We, at Forth Valley College, are building a college for the future. I hope that by the end of term, we have reached a solution and can move forward.”

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