College staff vote to ballot for strike

The EIS are considering strike action
The EIS are considering strike action

College lecturers are to vote on strike action in protest at budget cuts which have put frontline jobs and key courses at risk.

Members of the EIS Further Education Lecturers Association employed at Forth Valley College have already backed a call for a withdrawal of labour through an ‘indictive’ ballot. If the second ballot wins similar support, they could be out on strike before the current college term ends on June 24.

They are angry the college’s board of management is pressing ahead with plans to trim £3 million off spending despite the Scottish Funding Council insisting they should “focus on maintaining the quality of learning and teaching”.

The union is fighting to save 40 full-time posts and the careers of another 60 part-time lecturers, learning development workers and administration staff.

While compulsory redundancies have not been ruled out, the college has extended the deadline for employees to apply for voluntary severance which offers a slightly better pay-off package.

Branch secretary Billy McChord said it was still unclear how many jobs could be lost if the union loses its fight. He said: “We had a meeting today with a depute principal and head of human resources and told 28 people have been approved for voluntary redundancy. We have also been told one member of staff will be subject to compulsory redundancy, but we fear that figure will be higher.

“If the second ballot supports strike action the next step will be to seek approval from the national executive for that to start before the end of the month.”