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College strike back on after further talks refused

College strike back on after further talks refused

  • 10 May 2019
college lecturers strike
Image caption Lecturers have already taken part in four one-day strikes

A planned shutdown of Scotland's colleges on Wednesday and Thursday will go ahead after further talks between unions and education leaders were refused.

Lecturers will walk out for the fifth time in a row over pay and conditions.

EIS general secretary Larry Flanagan said the action would now take place after umbrella body Colleges Scotland refused further talks on Monday .

Colleges Scotland said it had put forward 10 offers to reach agreement.

Four one-day strikes have already taken place.

  • College strike called off for further talks

The EIS is unhappy with the cost-of-living pay rise on offer – a 2% consolidated rise covering three years.

But colleges say many lecturers have also had big rises because of a scheme to equalise pay across the country.

'Additional movement'

Mr Flanagan had previously announced that the strike by the EIS-Further Education Lecturers' Association (EIS-FELA) had been called off in the hope of agreement being reached this week.

However, that did not happen and the union said it offered Colleges Scotland further talks on Monday but the umbrella body declined.

Mr Flanagan the break-down in talks was "extremely" disappointing.

"We remain in dispute with employers on the matter of a cost-of-living pay rise covering the past two years and the year ahead," he said.

"Some additional movement from the employers could deliver an offer that we could put to our members.

"The EIS offered further talks early next week in the hope of progressing discussions, and is extremely disappointed that Colleges Scotland has declined this offer.

"With no improved offer likely to be forthcoming, next week's two-day strike action will now go ahead."

'Extremely frustrating'

The Colleges Scotland Employers' Association (CSEA) said it had put forward 10 offers trying to reach agreement in the 2017-20 pay dispute.

Heather Stevenson, CSEA interim director of employment services, said: "It's extremely frustrating that the EIS-FELA has decided to resume their strikes and continue to attack students by withholding assessment results, but colleges are mitigating the impact of their action and we are confident their attempts to cause maximum disruption will not succeed.

"Lecturers in Scotland are by far the best paid in the UK, and the pay harmonisation rises from 2017 to 2020, combined with the improved pay offer on the table from colleges, equate to a national average increase of well over £5,000 – or more than 12%.

"Lecturers have also had significant improvements in terms and conditions over the same 2017-20 pay period, including an enviable 62 days' holiday per year and a reduction in class contact time to 23 hours per week."

She added: "We believe this significantly-improved offer should be taken to their members to decide and will continue engaging with the EIS-FELA to end their industrial action."

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