Workers at Fife College among Unison members preparing to strike this week over pay

Staff at Fife College are among workers at 22 colleges across Scotland preparing to strike this week.
Fife College's Kirkcaldy campus (Pic: Scott Louden)Fife College's Kirkcaldy campus (Pic: Scott Louden)
Fife College's Kirkcaldy campus (Pic: Scott Louden)

UNISON members will walk out on Thursday unless employers get back around the table and settle a dispute over their pay rise being linked to possible compulsory redundancies.

The move comes after the union’s members in colleges, who were on strike last year, voted overwhelmingly to renew the mandate for strike action in December, with 81 per cent in favour.

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More than 2000 support staff – including librarians, IT specialists, administrators, cleaners, canteen workers and estate management staff – represented by the union will take the industrial action on Thursday closing and causing disruption in the vast majority of colleges across Scotland.

Chris Greenshields, UNISON Scotland’s further education branch secretary, said: “College staff up and down the country have had enough, it has been 76 weeks since they were due their pay rise in September 2022 and they are demanding that this dispute is settled with a fair pay rise free from the threat of compulsory redundancies hanging over them.

"UNISON is committed to reaching a resolution to this dispute and submitted another revised proposal in December 2023 to resolve matters which the colleges took over two months to reject. College staff want an end to this dispute and to get back to the jobs they love – supporting learners.”

Collette Bradley, chair of UNISON Scotland’s further education committee, added: “Further education in Scotland is in chaos and this dispute has now been going on for 18 months. It's time the Scottish Government stepped in to explore every avenue to reach an agreement. No one takes the decision to strike lightly.

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"We all know how important it is for students’ studies not to be disrupted. But college staff had not had a any pay rise at all for one and a half years which has added further stress to a dedicated workforce already suffering from the cost-of-living crisis. College staff are simply demanding fair pay and no compulsory redundancies. We need to avoid any further disruption for students and local communities.”

A spokesperson for Fife College confirmed that its campuses would be operating as normal on Thursday. They added: “We respect our colleagues’ right to strike, and we look forward to this situation being resolved quickly so that we can focus on delivering outstanding education for all Fife College students.”