Students call for Scottish Government to intervene over college pay dispute

Lecturers at New College Lanarkshire return to the picket line
Lecturers at New College Lanarkshire return to the picket line

The Students’ Association at New College Lanarkshire has called for the Scottish Government to intervene as the pay dispute between lecturers and college bosses shows no signs of ending.

There was some hope earlier this month when strike action scheduled for May 8 was postponed, however talks between the EIS/FELA union and Colleges Scotland subsequently broke down.

This saw lectures return to the picket lines yesterday (Wednesday) and today, before heading to Edinburgh to lobby the Scottish Parliament.

With no end to the dispute in sight lecturers are now considering a boycott of inputting assessment results into college systems.

While giving their full backing to the lectures this is of particular concern to the Students’ Association.

Vice-president Marisa Rose said: “We totally support the support our lecturers as we know how hard they work and everyone deserves to earn a wage in line with the cost of living.

“However, we now believe it is time for the Scottish Government to step in and help reach a resolution as we are concerned about the impact further action could have.

“With talks breaking down again we understand the lecturers feel they have no other option than to threaten not submitting assessment results, but this would be a terrible blow to the students who have worked so hard if they aren’t able to move on with their education.

“We already well into exam season, so before the situation escalates any further we hope all sides can be brought together to resolves a situation that should have been resolved ages ago.”

Colleges Scotland claims support for the strike action is dwindling.

Heather Stevenson, interim director of Employment Services, said: “The EIS/FELA will be disappointed that the strike numbers have dropped by a fifth since January.

“For the sake of students, we will continue meeting with the EIS/FELA to find a resolution to their latest industrial action, but it must be affordable and sustainable for the college sector”.

However, EIS/FELA New College Lanarkshire branch secretary Eileen Imlah denied enthusiasm was waning.

She said: “Colleges Scotland continue to publish misleading statements which seem designed to dishearten us, however support for the action remains strong.”