College staff to strike over pay claim

New College Lanarkshire will be closed tomorrow as lecturers strike
New College Lanarkshire will be closed tomorrow as lecturers strike

For the first time in over 20 years, lecturers at New College Lanarkshire are set to strike tomorrow (Thursday) in support of a national pay claim.

EIS members are taking action after union representatives both nationally and locally have been unable to persuade management to fulfil their obligations under Scottish Government policies.

Eileen Imlah, EIS/FELA branch secretary at the college, said: “The SNP manifesto back in 2011 committed the Scottish Government to reintroducing national bargaining back into Scottish further education.

“Since then, the Scottish Government under successive Education Secretaries has made it clear that they see a national set of terms and conditions for lecturers across Scotland as a priority.”

The differentials which exist been colleges have widened as a result of local bargaining over the past 23 years, and as recently as three weeks ago Education Minster Angela Constance stated again she wanted to see national terms and conditions for Scottish further education staff.

If this strike action goes ahead, it would see hundreds of lecturers walking out at all of New College Lanarkshire campuses including Motherwell, Cumbernauld and Coatbridge.

The strike action which will be part of a sustained campaign of national strike action will affect thousands of students.

Eileen said: “This is a vital time in the academic calendar students education and opportunities and I fear that student achievement could be damaged by management’s failure to address the issues in this dispute.

“We have sought to negotiate with management since as far back October 2014 to no avail. Management have refused to address the wide differentials which exist across Scotland’s colleges.

“In fact they have threatened to impose a settlement that will result in further inequality so we have no alternative but to take this action.”

“New College Lanarkshire have had a good working relationship with management locally since the merger of Motherwell, Cumbernauld and Coatbridge colleges. We would seek to avoid this and urge management to return to the bargaining table with an offer immediately.”