College lecturers stage second strike

By Jamie McIvor
BBC Scotland education correspondent

Image source, Thinkstock

A second strike in Scotland's further education colleges is going ahead after fresh talks failed to settle the dispute.

Members of the EIS Further Education Lecturers' Association said no progress had been made to even out pay differences.

But Colleges Scotland said pay could not be separated from issues such as holiday entitlement.

The union wants the Scottish government to help to settle the dispute.

Lecturers began industrial action in March last year over claims that there were disparities of up to £10,000 a year in pay at different colleges.

Union bosses said lecturers did not want to strike but had been forced to by the refusal of management to honour an agreement reached more than a year ago.

After talks on Tuesday, Colleges Scotland said it had made three new proposals to the union but they were all rejected.

EIS general secretary Larry Flanagan said: "We welcome the fact that Colleges Scotland did, belatedly, agree to further talks today, following repeated requests from the EIS.

Image caption,
Lecturers staged a strike on Thursday over pay and conditions

"While the EIS went into today's talks in good faith and eager to find a way to resolve this dispute, the lack of any significant movement from management meant that no agreement was reached in these discussions."

Mr Flanagan said: "The reality is that it is likely that the intervention of the Scottish government will be necessary to compel college management to meet their obligations to lecturers and students."

A spokesman for Colleges Scotland said: "The employers put forward three new proposals today in addition to the average pay increase of 9%. However, disappointingly, the EIS has rejected these.

"The EIS is so far unwilling to accept the terms the union signed up to last March, which was clearly about pay and conditions."

He added: "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.

"We have offered to meet with the EIS again this week on Wednesday and Friday to continue talks."

The planned strike follows the first day of action on Thursday last week.

If the dispute is not settled, the union says members could be on strike three days a week later this month.

More talks are expected to take place on Wednesday afternoon.

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