The EIS has welcomed a Parliamentary statement by Deputy First Minister John Swinney, which marks increased involvement from the Scottish Government in discussions on the ongoing Further Education dispute.
The EIS has been calling on the Scottish Government to intervene for some time, and has welcomed the Cabinet Secretary’s decision to appoint a facilitator to support future discussions around a national set of terms and conditions for FE lecturers.
The EIS has, however, also confirmed that strike action will continue until college management honour their commitments on equal pay, which were agreed over a year ago in the March 2016 NJNC agreement.
Commenting, EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan said: “We welcome the intervention of John Swinney and the interest of both the Scottish Government and Scottish Parliament. The intervention itself belies any notion that the Scottish Government has no role to play in these issues and of course, ultimately, it is the Scottish Government which determines the financial settlement of the sector.”
Mr Flanagan added: “We are disappointed that the Deputy First Minister did not press Colleges Scotland to implement the agreed April pay settlement as this could have led to an immediate suspension of the strike action. Given that the management Chair has confirmed publicly that the finance is available for the deal, that the pay scales are agreed and the timetable confirmed, it is perverse to provoke continued strike action by failing to deliver this agreement. The EIS has released agreed minutes which confirm that the two work streams of pay and conditions were not dependant on each other.”
Mr Flanagan added: “The EIS Emergency Committee, which met early this afternoon, has now agreed that strike pay will be payable to support FE lecturers on strike, from tomorrow’s action onwards. This represents a substantial financial commitment from the EIS to supporting its members, and highlights our ongoing determination to continue this action for as long as necessary until colleges honour the deal that they signed last year.”
“The Emergency Committee has also agreed a programme of new strike dates, in addition to those previously announced, and these will be communicated to members shortly.”
Thousands of Further Education Lecturers across Scotland are on strike again today (Tuesday) and tomorrow in a continuing dispute over management’s refusal to honour a deal that was signed over one year ago. The March 2016 NJNC Agreement promised equal pay for lecturers, after decades of wide variations in pay for lecturers in colleges across the country.