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Turnout for this week’s college lecturer strikes has fallen sharply compared with previous walkouts, continuing its downward trajectory since September last year.

College lecturers who are EIS-FELA members were called out on strike on Monday and Thursday (20 May and 23 May 2024), amid an ongoing pay dispute.

According to data supplied by colleges, yesterday’s turnout as a proportion of overall lecturer headcount was just 31.6%, which is lower than Monday’s figure of 33.7%.

Comparing this week’s turnout with that for previous national strike days confirms the underlying trend is firmly downwards. A Scotland-wide walkout on 29 February 2024 saw 39% of lecturers take part, while the figure on 7 September 2023 was 47%.

The information provided by colleges indicates strike turnout among lecturers has dropped by around a third over the last eight months, and comes after college employers had further discussions with the EIS-FELA ahead of yet more scheduled strike days next week.

Gavin Donoghue, Director of College Employers Scotland (CES), said: “This new data shows that the vast majority of college lecturers clearly don’t want to be on strike - they just want the pay dispute concluded as soon as possible.

“Colleges have welcomed a recently revised position from the EIS-FELA. However, we continue to urge the trade union to put the employers’ full and final three-year offer of a £5,000 consolidated pay rise to its members in a formal ballot. This is the simplest and quickest way for lecturers to get the money they deserve into their pockets as soon as possible.

“If the three-year offer is accepted by the EIS-FELA, the average lecturer will receive an 11.5% pay rise from September, and college lecturers at the start of the unpromoted pay scale will get a rise of over 14%.

“The employers’ three-year offer also compares well with public sector pay policy (PSPP) and would leave the average lecturer almost £1,500 better off than under PSPP. In addition, employers have given explicit written commitments on redundancies.

“The support staff trade unions have already recognised the strength of the employers’ three -year offer, with UNISON joining Unite and GMB in balloting their members and suspending proposed strike action.

“Given the employers’ fair pay offer already on the table, and their willingness to discuss the EIS-FELA’s revised pay claim, colleges have asked the trade union to suspend all industrial action while these talks continue.”


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