College lecturers in Scotland are engaged in a major battle. The SNP government is out to move further education towards the private sector by starving it of funding. The employers have said that anything above a 2 percent pay rise means compulsory redundancies. The lecturers’ EIS-Fela union is fighting for a fully funded pay rise.
It began with the withholding of student results that began in May and is now supplemented by strikes. It kicked off with a well‑supported one-day national stoppage with big picket lines on 7 September.
Now two colleges a day are striking, followed by targeted action in constituencies of leading politicians. But it is likely to take more to change the government’s mind. The threat of compulsory redundancies has detonated two bitter confrontations in City of Glasgow College (facing 100 job cuts) and Edinburgh (where a union rep has been victimised).
Both are all-out indefinite strikes. That EIS strike action can win is shown at Hutcheson Grammar School in Glasgow, which has become the first private school in Scotland to recognise unions. A sign of the determination to stand for working class education and against redundancies was the reception the Edinburgh College rep Kevin Scally received when the EIS Council, the lead body of the EIS, met last Friday.
City of Glasgow strikers were set to march from their picket line to join UCU, Unison and Unite union strikers at the universities on Tuesday this week. Please send messages of support for Edinburgh to EIS-Fela branch secretary, [email protected]
EIS members continue strikes over a national pay offer.
Tue 19 Sep UHI Argyle and Ayrshire College.
Wed 20 Sep South Lanarkshire College and Shetland College.
Thu 21 Sep Dumfries & Galloway College and Dundee & Angus College.
Fri 22 Sep UHI Perth and Edinburgh College.
Mon 25 Sep UHI Inverness and West Lothian College.
Tue 26 Sep City of Glasgow College and Borders College.
Targeted Action in ministers’ constituencies
Mon 2, Tue 3 and Wed 4 Oct at Glasgow Clyde College, Fife College and Dundee & Angus College
Journalists out at National World
Around 300 NUJ union members began strikes on Monday at National World regional newspapers. Strikers were out at sites in Portsmouth, Edinburgh, Leeds and Sheffield. Titles affected include The Scotsman, The Yorkshire Post, and Sheffield Star.
The strike is over pay and the future of proper staffing for local, regional and national newspapers. In July, National World imposed a 4.5 percent pay award.
An NUJ National World group chapel (union branch) spokesperson said, “This is the first time that there’s been this kind of company-wide industrial action. Local journalism shouldn’t only be an option for those who can be subsidised by their parents or partners. This is a company that says it has healthy cash reserves and is in a position to invest.
“So why won’t it invest in ensuring its own staff can afford to stay in their jobs?”
Further action is planned for 22 and 25 September.
Picket locations at nuj.org.uk/nationalworldstrike
Thanks to Alan Burgess