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Education / College lecturers announce strike next Wednesday

Shetland College's main Gremista campus.
The Shetland College part of Shetland UHI.

FURTHER education colleges across Scotland, including Shetland College, are going to be hit by strike action next Wednesday as lecturers walk out over a long running pay dispute.

Last month, lecturers organised in the EIS-FELA voted overwhelmingly (89.2 per cent of union members voting yes with a ballot turn our of 52 per cent) to strike after talks with college management had collapsed.

In a tweet, Shetland College said it had been notified of the industrial action, adding that although classes will be affected, the college building will remain open with library, canteen and student services available.

Shetland College branch secretary for EIS-FELA, Andrew Anderson, said the strike action was in support of the union’s living pay claim.

“We have been offered 2.5 per cent over the three year period [2017 to 2020], which equates to 0.8 per cent per year, way less than the current inflation rate (3.3 per cent) and effectively a significant reduction in standard of living,” he said.

“The EIS-FELA pay claim is for a pay deal that reflects the current public sector pay deal and a similar deal to that already agreed with support staff unions in the college sector i.e. approx. 3-4 per cent per year.”

The EIS-FELA’s national secretary Pam Currie added: “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.”

Anderson added that a meeting with management nationally has been requested to open up negotiations again but no response has yet been received.