Staff at Scotland's Rural College vote for industrial action

Lecturing staff at Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) including its Cupar campus, have voted in favour of industrial action.

Friday, 25th June 2021, 10:35 am
SRUC's Elmwood Campus in Cupar.
SRUC's Elmwood Campus in Cupar.

The industrial action, including potential strike action, follows a continuing dispute over pay and grading.

The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS), the country’s largest union for teachers and lecturers, announced the result of a statutory industrial action ballot of its members at SRUC.

EIS general secretary Larry Flanagan said: “This is a very clear ballot result which demonstrates the strength of feeling amongst EIS members at SRUC. Pay for lecturers at SRUC has fallen significantly behind the norms across both the further and higher education sectors, and the pay offer made to our members for this year was also completely inadequate. It is time for management at SRUC to pay their lecturers fairly and, also, to carry out a long-overdue pay and grading review that was previously agreed.”

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EIS said the pay offer made by SRUC management would result in sub-inflation pay awards for the majority of EIS members, with almost half of all members being offered no pay increase at all.

Mr Flanagan added: “This ballot result will send a strong message to SRUC that they can no longer take their academic staff for granted. The EIS remains willing to enter into further discussions with SRUC management with a view to agreeing a negotiated solution to this dispute. The EIS would urge the management at SRUC to return to the negotiating table with a significantly improved offer, in the hope that strike action may yet be avoided.”

A spokesperson for SRUC said: “We have been open and honest throughout this process. We are disappointed with how the EIS conducted this ballot and has acted outwith our agreed dispute resolution agreement. EIS has yet to respond to our increased pay offer, which was made before the ballot. This offer would see a pay increase for everyone at SRUC.

“We had already committed to implementing a new model of pay and grading at SRUC, as well as a new work allocation model which will help support colleagues to deliver excellence in teaching and research. We will speak to the EIS about our improved offer and work with them to find a resolution that will not cause disruption to our students and colleagues.”