College lecturers suspend strike action

The EIS-Further Education Lecturers’ Association said constructive talks which began last week will continue on Thursday.

College lecturers' strike signs
College lecturers' strike signs

College lecturers have suspended planned strike action to allow for pay talks.

Members of the EIS-Further Education Lecturers’ Association (EIS-FELA) will no longer walk out on Wednesday after progress was made in discussions last week.

A further meeting with employers will take place on Thursday.

EIS general secretary Larry Flanagan said: “We welcome the constructive dialogue around pay which took place with Colleges Scotland last week and hope that this positive movement will continue when we meet again on May 9.

“The FELA Executive has acknowledged its commitment to continuing negotiation and resolving this pay dispute, by the suspension of the strike action planned for this week.”

Lecturers are demanding what they say is a fair cost of living increase, in line with public-sector pay policy.

Strikes had been fixed for May 8, 15 and 16.

The Colleges Scotland Employers’ Association said last month it had tabled eight offers trying to reach agreement in the 2017-20 pay dispute.

Further Education Minister Richard Lochhead tweeted on Tuesday: “I warmly welcome the progress made in these negotiations and suspension of strike action which is good news for students and staff.

“Ministers are not at the table but will continue to maintain contact with both sides.”

John Gribben, director of employment services at Colleges Scotland Employers’ Association, said: “Colleges welcome the decision by the EIS-FELA to suspend their strike action on Wednesday and, while we are moving closer to reaching a deal, we recognise there is more work to be done.

“We’re disappointed that the EIS-FELA continues to target the students by withholding their assessment results and has not called off strike days scheduled for Wednesday May 15 and Thursday May 16.

“Colleges have made a further improved financial offer to the EIS-FELA subject to agreement on terms and conditions.

“We believe lecturers would accept the deal and have asked the EIS-FELA to take our offer to its members for approval.”

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