Strike action called off at Fife’s colleges

Fife College lecturers on strike last week
Fife College lecturers on strike last week

Fife College lecturers will return to work this week after all scheduled strikes were called off.

Staff at Fife’s FE campuses held the first of more than 30 planned days of industrial action last Thursday, joining colleagues across Scotland who were calling for equal pay.

Two further strikes were planned for Tuesday and Wednesday of this week but after 12 hours of negotiations between officials from Colleges Scotland and EIS-FELA, a draft deal to amend to the disparity between FE lecturers pay was agreed upon in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Charlie Montgomery, salaries convenor of the EIS-FELA, said: “We are pleased to have made this breakthrough in the early hours that will set a sound foundation going forward.”

Shona Struthers, chief executive of Colleges Scotland said: “The management side has worked tirelessly to achieve this outcome which will see an end to any further disruption to students and start to address harmonisation of terms and conditions for college lecturers.”

The draft proposal, which would see all FE lecturers in Scotland on equal pay by April 2019, will now be put to a ballot of EIS-FELA and is expected to be accepted.

A Fife College lecturer who participated in the industrial action said: “I’m happy that an agreement has been reached and that the solidarity shown by the trade union had a positive result.

“Many staff were disappointed with the attitude shown by college management in the run -up to the strike, which was at best short-sighted and at worst, positively dismissive of the EIS position.

“I hope the college principal has learned from this and will be more supportive of his hard-working staff in future.”

John Kelly, EIS-FELA president said that lecturers “did themselves proud”.

He added: “Happy days. Well done to each and every EIS-FELA member, and the numerous support staff who supported us along with EIS members and other unions.”