Comment on the EIS-FELA Ballot (1 March 2022)

Alex Linkston, Chair of the Employers’ Association, said: “It is deeply disappointing that the EIS-FELA has rejected a good pay offer and are now balloting for industrial action.

“Our offer would give all lecturing staff an extra £1,000 this year, more than accepted offers for other public sector workers including civil servants, the police, and fire service. And part of the reason such a significant offer is on the table is employers’ clear recognition of the outstanding work carried out by college staff throughout the pandemic. Students still received world-class learning experiences despite the most demanding of circumstances.

“Bluntly, in the current financial climate there is only so much we can do with the funds we have available from Scottish Government, and it would be devastating for the sector if this is not recognised by the union and its members. Colleges are about to experience a funding cut of £51.9m for the next academic year by the Scottish Government, which trade unions are well aware of.”


For background:

  • The final offer on the table from the employers is a consolidated pay award of £850 for all unpromoted and promoted lecturer scale points as well as an award of £150 as a one-off payment in gratitude for the efforts made during the pandemic.
  • The Scottish Budget 2022/23 means colleges losing £23.9 million because of inflation, with an additional £28 million removed because of the loss of Covid-19 funding previously received. This has provided much needed support for deferred students, Foundation Apprenticeships, mental health and wellbeing initiatives, and vital digital equipment for students.
  • In 2021/22 Scottish Government provided an increase in core funding of just £11.8m to colleges for lecturing and support staff pay and non-pay costs including increased National Insurance contributions and utility cost rises. The employers’ final offer already exceeds the core funding by £4.8m.

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