Industrial strikes affecting the college sector are now set to end.

Members of the Educational Institute of Scotland Further Education Lecturers' Association (EIS-FELA) have voted to approve a total package offer from colleges.

The vote brings to an end strike action which has involved lecturers at Lews Castle College and at Benbecula over several months of this year.

Billy MacKinnon, Branch Secretary EISFELA - Lews Castle College UHI, told welovestornoway.com today: "We are pleased that the dispute is now settled and hope that lessons will have been learned which help avoid the necessity for Industrial Action in the future."

The offer means all lecturers will receive pay rises covering a period of three years and five months, backdated to April 2017.

The offer was ratified by Colleges Scotland Employers' Association on behalf of colleges last week, so both sides have now reached agreement on pay, and terms and conditions.

The additional £17.5 million cost of the deal will all have to be met by colleges. Last week's Audit Scotland report, Scotland's Colleges 2019, highlighted that colleges are already facing considerable financial challenges.

Shona Struthers, Chief Executive of Colleges Scotland Employers' Association, said: "We very much welcome this agreement which ends the EIS-FELA's industrial action and restores some stability to the sector. The £17.5 million this deal is costing all comes from colleges making cuts, which will be challenging as the sector is already under considerable financial pressures.

"Colleges' total package deal with the EIS-FELA gives lecturers an extra £1,900, while providing clarity around flexible working and observation of learning.

"Lecturers in Scotland are the best paid in the UK, earning approximately £10,000 more than their English counterparts, and the pay harmonisation rises from 2017 to 2020, combined with the improved pay deal agreed with the EIS-FELA, equate to a national average increase of over £5,000 – or more than 13%.

"Lecturers have already also had significant improvements in terms and conditions over the same 2017-20 pay period, including the introduction of 62 days' holiday per year and 23 hours per week class contact time."