Lecturers at Lews Castle College could hold further strike action on Tuesday February 5th, despite some progress during talks with employers last week (Thursday January 24th).

Representatives of the Further Education Lecturers Association (EIS-FELA), an autonomous organisation within the Educational Institute of Scotland, came away from last Thursday’s meeting with agreement on a single issue, but other pay issues unresolved.

The dispute revolves around a manifesto promise from the Scottish Government that all FE lecturers in Scotland would see their pay scales adjusted to meet those of the highest paying college in Scotland – North East College Scotland – over a period of three years from 2017.

For some colleges, that meant staff would see relatively little pay change, but for other colleges such as Lews Castle the change would be significant. The agreed changes, described as ‘harmonisation’, have been implemented, but in the meantime the cost-of-living pay rises awarded to other public sector employees have not been awarded.

At last Thursday’s meeting union representatives secured agreement that pay negotiations would separate the harmonisation of pay scales from cost-of-living pay awards. A new meeting date has been set for this Thursday (January 31st) to continue discussions on this pay demand. If an agreement is not reached, there will be another day of action on February 5th.

FELA branch secretary Billy Mackinnon said “We’re all disappointed that we have ended up here. Nobody wants to go on strike, but we feel that we have no choice.”

Picture shows lecturers on the picket line during January’s strike day (EIS-FELA)