Students returning to Forth Valley College next Monday face uncertainty after lecturers voted to strike.
Members of the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) Further Education Lecturers’ Association (FELA) overwhelmingly voted in favour of industrial action, earlier this month.
The ballot came after lengthy talks on pay as the union pressed for a cost of living increase for its members.
Announcing the result, the union said there was a 52 per cent turnout, with 90 per cent of those voting to back the move for strike action.
Pam Currie, EIS-FELA president, said: “Members have voted overwhelmingly for strike action in pursuit of a fair cost of living pay award. We are taking this action as a last resort, as the result of management’s unwillingness to negotiate a fair offer.
“Lecturers do not take strike action lightly, and we have done everything that we can over the past two years of talks to attempt to reach a fair negotiated settlement. We have repeatedly sought to engage management in meaningful negotiations and formally submitted a revised claim based on public sector pay policy in line with the offer made to support staff.
“Even at this late stage, we hope that college management will now come back to the table to begin meaningful negotiations and deliver a cost of living increase similar to others in the public sector.”
EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan added, “The resounding ballot result is a clear indication of the frustration and anger that our members are feeling.
“College management has dragged this process out for two years, using the delivery of equal pay across the sector as a barrier to negotiation and using conflated figures in publicity to obfuscate the pay claim.
“The sector needs stability and meaningful negotiation is the best way to deliver this.”
Strike dates will be announced in due course.
Dr Ken Thomson, principal of Forth Valley College, said: “We are disappointed that college lecturers from across Scotland, through the ballot organised by EIS-FELA, have voted to take industrial action in January.
“We hope talks will continue so that strike action can be avoided. Our focus as always, will be to ensure that we continue to deliver the highest quality learning experiences for our students, with as little disruption to them as possible.”