Lecturers In Scotland Demand Equal Pay
Students Picketing in Support of Lecturers in Inverness - pic: Inverness EIS-FELA.
Lecturers across Scotland have been left reeling as The Scottish Government has allowed a deadlock between The Further Education Lecturers' Association (EIS-FELA) and Colleges Scotland to run into its fourth week.
Students across Scotland have been left with the reality that many may not be able to progress from their courses saddled with student debt as a consequence. Shona Struthers – Chief Executive of Colleges Scotland, and John Kelly, President of EIS-FELA – clashed on BBC Radio Scotland with counter claims on how the dispute has been handled with allegations of management walking out of meetings unannounced ↓
In a statement to the Scottish Parliament yesterday, the education secretary, John Swinney, finally intervened to the fury of lecturers across Scotland. Lecturers are unhappy at the speculated £10k/week of taxpayer money that is being paid to the PR firm, Charlotte Street Partners, to: “spin that we are somehow lazy or wanting something that normal workers wouldn’t expect.”
"The Scottish Government has now appointed a private mediator but John Swinney has not given any reassurances that an outside consultant can succeed where he has failed. If this doesn’t work, what next?" - Monica Lennon - Labour MSP
Ross Greer, Green MSP, criticised Education Secretary John Swinney for: "calling on college lecturers to end their strike action, despite management failing to honour a pay deal agreed over a year ago."
Labour MSP, Monica Lennon – whose motion set the ball rolling, and which wasn’t signed by any SNP MSPs said:
“Lecturers and students had high hopes that John Swinney would restore harmony in Scotland’s colleges. But instead of bringing lecturers and employers closer to an agreement, the intervention of the Deputy First Minister has achieved the opposite.
John Swinney held talks with both sides at Bute House on Sunday night, only for the distance between them to have widened. As a result, strike action has escalated with a further 3 days of industrial action announced for next week.
We need to see harmony restored in Scotland’s colleges as soon as possible. Colleges Scotland and the SNP Ministers should be taking all necessary measures to make sure a fair deal is reached urgently. The First Minister last week urged employers to go the extra mile to resolve the dispute. What a pity that John Swinney refused to ask the employers to honour the deal agreed in 2016.”
“We’re being made to look greedy and the BBC aren’t giving this situation the impartial coverage that it’s their statutory duty to do. This isn’t about more pay – it’s about equal pay whilst management are planning to increase their salaries" - Ken McCluskey - lecturer
College staff are on the picket line today, with scheduled strike action planned for next week, too. The Scottish Government and Charlotte Street Partners declined to reply to my requests for statements.