Forth Valley College lecturers to take part in national strike action

Falkirk district-based college lecturers will once again strike in a dispute over the replacement of lecturers with poorer-paid, lower qualified staff.

By Jonathon Reilly
Wednesday, 24th March 2021, 4:54 pm
Updated Wednesday, 24th March 2021, 5:09 pm

EIS Further Education Lecturers’ Association (EIS-FELA) members at Forth Valley College’s Falkirk, Alloa and Stirling campuses will be among those who take industrial action tomorrow (Thursday).

A previous day of strike action, planned for last week, was called off following an agreement based on a proposal from employers’ group Colleges Scotland.

The deal was then approved by the EIS-FELA but not by the employers’ body Colleges Scotland – despite its proposals providing a basis for the agreement, according to the former.

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Forth Valley College's Falkirk campus will be impacted by a lecturers' strike. Picture: Michael Gillen.

The latest escalation follows a failure to resolve a year-long dispute between the union and the employer over the replacement of lecturers’ posts with support staff across different departments.

Larry Flanagan, EIS general secretary, said: “I have been involved in many negotiations over my years as a trade unionist, but rarely have I seen anything more bizarre than an employer failing to ratify an agreement largely based on its own proposals.

“This is exactly what the employers’ body Colleges Scotland has done this week. The agreement struck last week, through the National Joint Negotiating Committee, incorporated proposals that came from Colleges Scotland itself.

“Following the agreement, the EIS agreed to suspend the planned EIS-FELA strike action to allow both sides to formally ratify the NJNC agreement through their own structures.

“EIS-FELA duly ratified the agreement, only to then find that Colleges Scotland was now refusing to do likewise – with the management side effectively rejecting its own proposals.”

Mr Flanagan continued: “Having shown good faith in suspending the strike action and ratifying the agreement, our EIS-FELA members are outraged at the duplicity displayed by Colleges Scotland.

“Lecturers do not want to strike but are taking a stand in defence of lecturing jobs and high standards of teaching across the Scottish further education sector.

“The EIS was interested to note yesterday’s questions to Further Education Minister Richard Lochhead at Holyrood, which highlighted the poor faith shown by Colleges Scotland in relation to the NJNC agreement.

“Lecturers agreed not to strike, based on the agreement that had been reached, so the responsibility for the reinstatement of strike action falls solely at the door of college employers and their representative body, Colleges Scotland.”

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