College lecturers across Scotland have delivered a decisive vote in favour of industrial action on pay, as a long-running national dispute continues. The statutory ballot, which closed in mid January covered EIS Further Education Lecturers’ Association (EIS- FELA) members in colleges the length and breadth of Scotland.

In the ballot, 85% of those voting supported action short of strike (ASOS) in support of the campaign for a fair pay settlement, while 77% supported strike action. The ballot comfortably passed the restrictive threshold set by the UK government’s anti-trade union law, meaning that both strike action and ASOS could be implemented by EIS-FELA across Scotland.

Commenting, EIS General Secretary Andrea Bradley said, “Scotland’s college lecturers have delivered a very clear result in this statutory ballot, and an equally clear mandate for the continuation of industrial action in support of a fair pay settlement. College leaders have attempted to hide behind some of the most draconian anti-trade union laws in Europe, playing for time and forcing a re-ballot in the hope that lecturer resolve would weaken. Their tactics have failed, as this ballot result demonstrates clearly that Scotland’s college lecturers remain determined to fight for a fair pay rise.”

Ms Bradley continued, “Despite this ballot largely taking place over the Christmas and New Year period, where people have many other things to think about, our members cast their votes and have delivered a strong platform on which to continue the campaign for fair pay and guarantees on jobs. College employers must now listen to the lecturer workforce, and join the EIS in calling on additional Scottish Government funding to deliver a fair deal for Scotland’s Further Education lecturers.”

Scotland’s lecturers, and Scotland’s students, deserve far better from college management and the Scottish Government.

Ms Bradley added, “Scotland’s college lecturers should have received a pay rise in September 2022. Today, almost a year and a half later, our members are still waiting for college employers to deliver a fair pay offer. The only proposals to have come from employers come with so many strings attached – such as deep job cuts across the lecturer workforce – that the EIS and its members will never accept them. Scotland’s lecturers, and Scotland’s students, deserve far better from college management and the Scottish Government.”

EIS FELA President Anne-Marie Harley, said, “With this fresh industrial action mandate now secured, the EIS will move ahead to consider a new programme of industrial action in the weeks and months ahead if an acceptable and fair pay offer is not immediately forthcoming. We would, once again, urge the management of Scotland’s colleges and the Scottish Government to come back with a fair offer that properly reflects the important work that our members do in Scotland’s colleges, and the value of quality Further Education to students of all ages, to Scotland as a whole and particularly working-class communities.”

Campaign update: industrial action programme agreed

Following the successful national ballot result, the EIS-FELA Executive met to map out the strategy for a programme of ongoing industrial action.

An industrial action timetable was agreed following significant discussion, with Action Short of Strike (ASOS) to be implemented as soon as possible, and a national day of strike action to take place on 29th February. It was also agreed to hold a national rally at the Scottish Parliament to coincide with the national strike date.

Subsequent to the meeting of EIS-FELA Executive, the EIS Emergency Committee met to give formal approval to the planned programme of industrial action.

EIS-FELA Executive was set to meet again on Friday 2nd February, the day that this edition of the SEJ went to press, with further discussion on industrial action strike patterns, including targeted action, set to take place at that meeting.

Further information will be provided to EIS-FELA members through the usual communications channels.