EIS-FELA may fi nd themselves again heading into dispute, in the FE Sector, as pay negotiations continue to prove frustrating and protracted. Since August of last year, national negotiators have sought to secure a pay deal for college lecturers that is fair and reflects the sacrifices made and commitment shown over the course of the COVID-19 Pandemic, however, as the SEJ goes to print, the ‘final’ offer on the table falls way short of what EIS-FELA members deserve.
Currently, an offer of £850 (consolidated) and an additional £150 (unconsolidated) represents what the employers’ side of the NJNC state is their ‘final’ offer. Taking into consideration the sharp rise in the cost of living and with inflation spiralling to levels not seen in over 30 years, what is on the table represents in reality a real terms pay cut in extremely challenging times.
The consolidated element of the offer amounts to £850 on all scale points for lecturers and stands smaller than the award made last year. The unconsolidated, and therefore a one-off payment with no impact on raising scale points, element amounts to £150 and is intended by the employers’ side to be a ‘thank you’ gesture to college lecturers for their work over the course of the pandemic. However, it is offered on a pro rata basis meaning that part time staff will not receive the full “thank you.”
The EIS-FELA national Executive met in December of last year and unanimously rejected the offer, as it stands, and asked its negotiators to attempt to see what scope there was for improvement on the current figures, whilst remaining mindful that the FE sector would do better without further industrial action in 2022. However, as the SEJ goes to print, there has been no improved offer and thus the prospects of a national dispute and ballots potentially leading to industrial action loom large in the FE sector again this year.
After two years of delivering for students during a pandemic and fully aware, following the national strike campaign against the replacement of lecturers in 2021, EIS-FELA members regrettably may again be called upon to stand up for their profession and their worth. This poor offer comes at a time when workloads have dramatically increased for EIS-FELA members in FE, lecturers are facing a double whammy of increasing work demands in return for real terms reductions in pay. Time is running out for Colleges Scotland, on behalf of the Employers’ Association, to make an offer that truly recognises the value and extraordinary effort of college lecturers across Scotland.
“Since August of last year, national negotiators have sought to secure a pay deal for college lecturers…”
“what is on the table represents in reality a real terms pay cut in extremely challenging times.”
“EIS-FELA members regrettably may again be called upon to stand up for their profession and their worth”