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Comment on EIS-FELA and UNISON ballots to extend industrial action at colleges

Commenting on ballots to extend industrial action by UNISON and the EIS-FELA, Gavin Donoghue, Director of College Employers Scotland, said:
“It is deeply regrettable that both the EIS-FELA and UNISON are seeking to extend damaging industrial action in the college sector, even after all college staff have now been offered a three-year, consolidated pay rise of £5,000.
“If the new pay offer is accepted, college lecturers in Scotland would maintain their position as the UK’s highest-paid college lecturers, receiving an average pay rise of 11.5% from 1 September 2024. Lecturers at the start of the National Pay Scale would enjoy a 14.2% rise. 
“The three-year offer would also deliver an average pay increase of nearly 16% for college support staff by the start of the next academic year, with support staff who earn less than £25,000 benefitting from a 21.5% rise.  
“The new pay offer, which was guided by Fair Work principles, has been made against an extremely challenging financial backdrop for colleges. According to the Auditor General, Scottish Government funding for colleges fell 8.5% in real terms between 2021/22 and 2023/24. This funding squeeze means staff costs now account for at least 70% of the college sector’s spending, even before the latest three-year pay offer is included. 
“Given the significant financial pressures facing colleges, we urge the EIS-FELA and UNISON to recommend the new three-year pay offer to their members, and allow college staff to benefit from this significant pay rise as soon as possible."

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