Management say there will be no redundancies at Forth Valley College after staffing consultation

Education bosses at Forth Valley College claimed there will be no lecturer redundancies as a result of a recent consultation on the future of FVC’s workforce.

The college management team stated all those at risk during the consultation – 67 members of staff – will have an offer of employment with salary conservation for

four years.

The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS), the country’s largest union for teachers and lecturers, had been actively fighting plans in the consultation, which they claimed would mean potential removal of college lecturers from the delivery of vocational education.

The new Forth Valley College Campus in Grangemouth Road, Falkirk

As far as FVC was concerned, the EIS stated this would result in the redundancy of over 30 lecturing jobs, with the college set to introduce new “instructor-assessor” roles.

However, it was stated due to the uptake of the voluntary severance scheme, there will be no redundancies.

According to FVC the new instructor assessor role will enable the college to provide a more effective learning and teaching delivery model.

A FVC spokesperson said: “We recognise, particularly for those staff directly affected, this process is difficult, and even more so, in the unprecedented circumstances we now find

ourselves in due to the coronavirus crisis.

“Our aims include ensuring there are no additional pressures and added uncertainty caused by unnecessary delays, whilst still ensuring staff can input and question, as

required. We are committed to managing this process with staff and will do everything we can to support them throughout this period, while securing the security and long-term future for Forth Valley College.

“The next step is to invite staff to have a face-to-face discussion with their line manager or nominee at a convenient time, however, these meetings may be delayed due to the current college closure.

“These individual meetings will allow staff to have detailed discussions about the opportunities available and to ask questions and put forward suggestions. In addition to a conserved salary, existing staff transferring to the new instructor assessor posts will also retain their current pension provider.”

The FVC management team added it was continuing to engage with union representatives from both EIS FELA and Unison local branches.

The EIS condemned the management at Forth Valley College for continuing a process they believe is aimed at making lecturing staff redundant during the COVID-19 epidemic. The union stated the college plans to make over 30 lecturing staff redundant, and will replace them with less qualified staff on inferior terms and conditions.

According to the EIS, there were real fears the consultation proposals would see lecturers who currently deliver vocational education in subjects like hairdressing, care, construction and practical engineering, facing the prospect of losing their jobs.

On March 13 the EIS-FELA branch at Forth Valley College stated 85 per cent of EIS-FELA members were in favour of industrial action from a 72 per cent turn out.

Due to the current global public health crisis posed by the coronavirus outbreak, the EIS-FELA branch requested the consultation be delayed to prepare staff, students and the public for the outbreak.

The union was critical of FVC pushing ahead with the process and asking staff to be interviewed virtually to defend their jobs.

EIS-FELA president at Forth Valley College Anne-Marie Harley said: "Continuing the redundancy process during an epidemic of ill-health is a cynical move designed to stop resistance to the process. It oversteps the boundaries of human decency in a time of crisis."

The EIS plan to hold a a mass demonstration at 1pm on Wednesday April 1 in protest at Forth Valley College’s actions – the event will take place online, to comply with current COVID-19 guidance on social distancing.

Larry Flanagan, EIS general secretary said: “It is shocking management at Forth Valley College is seeking to make lecturing staff redundant during the global COVID-19 pandemic. In recent weeks, we have seen organisations such as Britannia Hotels, Sports Direct and JD Wetherspoon publicly condemned for their treatment of staff during this crisis – so the actions of Forth Valley College, a publicly funded institution – are absolutely deserving of condemnation.

“It is completely indefensible the college is seeking to make hard-working lecturing staff redundant during this crisis. I would urge EIS members to join the online demo in support of these lecturers, to force Forth Valley College to rethink its actions.”