Striking college lecturers have pleaded with management to “get round the table” to bring an end to their pay dispute.
Members of the EIS and Further Education Lecturers’ Association (FELA) unions walked out today in a dispute with Colleges Scotland.
Classes at Dundee and Angus College’s Kingsway, Gardyne and Arbroath campuses were cancelled and lecturers stood on picket lines from 8am.
The unions claim Colleges Scotland refused to meet them until after the first strike, pushing negotiations back.
Alan O’Neill, a lecturer in IT and local union branch secretary, said students affected by the action had offered their support.
He said: “Colleges Scotland has constantly misled the process by adding the salaries and the cost of living claim together when they clearly are two separate things.
“It has been a little bit disingenuous when they use numbers which are clearly incorrect and try to make out we are a set of greedy people looking for more money from the public purse. Nothing could be further from the truth.
“Support from students has been fantastic. I’ve been really encouraged by students wishing us well and supporting what we are doing.
“Classes might not be running but activities and work has been put in place for students.
“We hope both sides can come together. Everyone wants to see the back of this.”
Video of him talking to Tele reporter James Simpson is at the top of this article.
Staff at Perth College UHI were also on strike today.
Shona Struthers, chief executive of Colleges Scotland, said: “It is extremely disappointing the EIS and FELA are taking disruptive strike action for the third time in four years, especially when the colleges’ pay offer, combined with salary rises from the ‘same pay’ settlement, would see lecturers’ national average pay increase over three years by 12.2%, which is a cash increase of more than £5,083.
“This offer on the table is the best overall pay rise for public sector workers anywhere in the UK but the EIS and FELA want even more.
“At the heart of this dispute is the EIS and FELA refusal to recognise the substantial pay increases awarded to most lecturers from the previously agreed ‘same pay’ deal.
“They also want a cost of living increase but a pay rise is a pay rise, irrespective whether it comes from the ‘same pay’ agreement or the additional cost of living offer.”