Monday 24 June 2024
 10.8°C   S Gentle Breeze
Ocean Kinetics - The Engineering Experts

Education / SIC rejects and hands back college merger petition

The EIS-FELA petition was handed in to Lerwick Town Hall earlier this month. Photo: Shetland News

SHETLAND Islands Council has returned a petition handed to them by EIS union members earlier this month because of a technicality. 

As the almost 500-signature strong petition voicing concern over the merger of three local further education institutions was addressed to the Scottish Government, and not the council, the SIC said it was unable to consider and discuss the document.

The further education branch of the EIS union fears higher and further education in the isles could be “privatised” as a consequence of council plans to form an unincorporated organisation that would not be subject to the same public scrutiny than an incorporated college.

Convener Malcolm Bell, who had accepted the petition on behalf of the local authority on 7 February, said the council couldn’t respond to the petition “as it specifically calls upon the Scottish Government to take action”.

He added: “Councillors are generally aware of the views held by the EIS and its supporters on the proposed college merger,” councillor Bell said.

“A number of meetings have taken place with union representatives throughout the merger discussions to ensure that their views have been heard.”

The EIS-FELA Shetland College branch said on Tuesday councillors could not ignore the fact that nearly 500 people had signed the petition including most Shetland College staff and students, Train Shetland staff, NAFC staff as well as members of the public.

There were also 200-plus individual postcards expressing concern which were sent to all 22 councillors, the union said.

EIS-FELA has now requested to hold a ‘clinic’ with the SIC to negotiate on relevant changes to terms and conditions, including change of employer.

Following legal advice from law firm Anderson Strathern, the SIC decided in December 2018 that the merged college should be unincorporated.

According to the chairman of the council’s college board, Peter Campbell, this is also the opinion of the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) and the Scottish Funding Council.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.

Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.

Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has  over 600 supporters  who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.

Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -

  • Bring you the headlines as they happen;
  • Stay editorially independent;
  • Give a voice to the community;
  • Grow site traffic further;
  • Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.

If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.

 

Newsletters

Subscribe to a selection of different newsletters from Shetland News, varying from breaking news delivered on the minute, to a weekly round-up of the opinion posts. All delivered straight to your inbox.

Daily Briefing Newsletter Weekly Highlights Newsletter Opinion Newsletter Life in Shetland Newsletter

JavaScript Required

We're sorry, but Shetland News isn't fully functional without JavaScript enabled.
Head over to the help page for instructions on how to enable JavaScript on your browser.

Your Privacy

We use cookies on our site to improve your experience.
By using our service, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy.

Browser is out-of-date

Shetland News isn't fully functional with this version of .
Head over to the help page for instructions on updating your browser for more security, improved speed and the best overall experience on this site.

Interested in Notifications?

Get notifications from Shetland News for important and breaking news.
You can unsubscribe at any time.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

We're committed to ensuring everyone has equitable access to impartial, open and quality local journalism that benefits all residents.

By supporting Shetland News, you play a vital role in ensuring we remain a pivotal resource in supporting the community.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.