Further Education Sector Dispute

Tuesday 6 September 2016 saw considerable disruption in Scotland’s Further Education sector as the autumn term got under way when a full strike took place from Stranraer to Stornaway.

The dispute is the result of college bosses awarding lecturing staff a £450 flat rate rise in May 2016, while most college support staff have been offered a flat rate of £230. College support staff (administration, admissions, funding, catering, cleaning, advisors, security, classroom assistants, technicians and others) are calling for fair pay and parity with their lecturing colleagues

Inverclyde Branch has approximately 150 members based at West College Scotland and Ayrshire College. Our members had one of the most organised picket lines and received a huge response from well wishers and especially from members of the EIS who recognised the injustice of unequal pay between lecturers and support staff. The Greenock Campus was completely closed to Students with libraries and nurseries closed to children. Staffing was so low that Senior Managers on major salaries had to act as telephonists, receptionists or janitors.

Albert Sorrie, UNISON Steward in the Finnart Campus said “It is in nobody’s interests, especially the students, for others industrial action to persist through the autumn term up to Christmas. The difference between what the

employers had offered and what would have solved the dispute was a bridgeable gap.  Instead of crossing the bridge to settlement talks, the FE employers’ association has chosen conflict with difficult consequences for the sector and its students..”

The message from our strike on the 6th September is loud and clear that UNISON members in the sector are fed up being treated as second class citizens and the value of their contribution to the sector demeaned. We have been offered an annual pay rise which is about half that which the same employers thought fair, reasonable and affordable, for teaching staff.