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Thursday 4th
posted by Zoe Streatfield in Britain

Management still refuses to honour year-old pay deal

COLLEGE lecturers in Scotland walked out yesterday for a second time after talks failed to settle a long-running dispute over pay.

Members of the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) have accused Colleges Scotland of failing to honour an agreement reached a year ago following strike action.

The pay deal would mean that lecturers’ pay is harmonised across the further education (FE) sector where there are currently wage disparities of up to £10,000 a year between different colleges.

EIS Further Education Lecturers’ Association president John Kelly said that lecturers were “fighting to force management to implement an agreement that they signed up to 13 months ago.”

The union has called on the Scottish government to intervene in the dispute. Mr Kelly pointed out that last week First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the Scottish government expected management to “go the extra mile” but that they “wouldn’t move an inch” following talks on Tuesday.

He told the Star: “We’ll be solid in this strike, we’re not standing for this: further education deserves better.”

College lecturer Ewan Park said the failure of management to honour the deal was “an attack on the long-established terms and conditions that have been fought for over the years.”

He said the strike was taking place in a context in which “funding for the FE sector has been reduced by a third since austerity kicked in.”

EIS general secretary Larry Flanagan said it was likely that the Scottish government would have to intervene “to compel college management to meet their obligations to lecturers and students.”

A spokeswoman for the Colleges Scotland employers’ association claimed it had put forward three options during talks on top of the average pay increase of 9 per cent, which the EIS rejected.

“Our number-one priority is ensuring that students are not affected by more disruption, and we urge the EIS to accept the very reasonable and fair offer that is on the table,” she said.

Two more days of strike action are expected next week.