To the disappointment of colleges, members of the EIS-FELA are taking part in further strike action this week (Tuesday, 20 April 2021 and Wednesday, 21 April 2021).

Talks continued on Monday, 19 April 2021 and, although some progress was made, the EIS-FELA refused to call off the unnecessary action.

National discussions between the Colleges Scotland Employers’ Association and the EIS-FELA have been going on for many months. The trigger for these discussions was an unfounded allegation from EIS-FELA that colleges were attempting to replace lecturing roles with other roles like assessors or instructors. This has never been the case, and the EIS-FELA have accepted this. The ongoing industrial action is therefore completely unnecessary.

There is only one outstanding issue still to be finalised. This is around the wording of a national role profile for lecturers, which both sides are supportive of. During earlier negotiations on the national role profile for lecturers, the Employers’ Association requested that discussions continue to gain further clarification on how the role profile would be used. This is an entirely normal part of the negotiation process. It is not true that the Employers’ Association didn’t “ratify the deal” as the discussion is ongoing. A consensus position is not a deal until both sides reach a final agreement.

Colleges are working extremely hard to ensure students can achieve their qualifications this year and will do everything they can to minimise the disruption caused by the EIS-FELA.

To our further disappointment, the EIS-FELA last week opened a further ballot for its members to take additional industrial action – this new ballot asks its members to take action short of strike action, such as working to rule. Again, colleges believe any escalation of this dispute is entirely unnecessary.

The EIS-FELA has opened a further ballot for its members to take industrial action, to the disappointment of colleges.  This additional ballot asks its members to take action short of strike action, such as working to rule and/or a resulting boycott. 

This latest unnecessary move would be in addition to the three strike days which have already taken place, and the 11 days of strike action planned for April and May.

As part of the next steps in Scotland’s journey out of lockdown, from today (Monday, 5 April 2021) a limited number of college students can return to in-person learning on their college campus.

The move to allow up to 29% of students onto college campuses was announced by the First Minister last month.

Priority is being given to students who have essential face-to-face learning to complete, including students studying engineering, construction, and hair and beauty, where access is needed to practical teaching in workshops, laboratories, and teaching salons.

The EIS-FELA are continuing today (Thursday, 1 April 2021) with a planned programme of industrial action over their ballot which “centres on the replacement of lecturer posts with other posts at colleges across the country, to carry out work the EIS believes to be equivalent to the work of lecturers”.

There is no national plan to replace lecturers with tutor/assessor/instructor roles, nor any other support staff roles. The EIS-FELA agrees with this position.

The Educational Institute of Scotland Further Education Lecturers’ Association (EIS-FELA) is taking further strike action on Wednesday, 31 March 2021 and Thursday, 1 April 2021, despite repeated requests to suspend action whilst talks continue.

During last week’s industrial action (Thursday, 25 March 2021), the majority (59%) of lecturers across Scotland did not go out on strike.

The EIS-FELA national dispute “centres on the replacement of lecturer posts with other posts at colleges across the country, to carry out work the EIS believes to be equivalent to the work of lecturers”. Both sides agree that there is no national plan to replace lecturers with tutor/assessor/instructor roles, nor any other support staff roles.

Both sides are also supportive of a national role profile for lecturers. This profile has a number of core responsibilities and attributes which reflect the complex and professional nature of the role of the lecturer. The employers view is that this is a holistic role profile. The EIS-FELA view is that just some of the core responsibilities are necessary to deem someone a lecturer. This the outstanding issue still to be agreed and is the basis for industrial action.