By Thomas Duncan
College lecturers across Scotland have voted for strike action as a result of a long-running pay dispute.
The walkout is to take place within the next fortnight and could disrupt students in the run up to exams.
96% of members of the Educational Institute for Scotland (EIS) backed the action, in a protest about a disparity in pay.
Staff are unhappy that colleagues in different parts of Scotland are being paid different rates for doing the same job.
A deal was struck over twelve months ago to phase in wage increases over three years, but EIS say that the deadline for the first rise in wages has been missed and college management have refused to engage.
But the Colleges Scotland Employers’ Association (CSEA) argue that EIS’ demands are about more than just pay.
A spokeswoman for CSEA said: “It is hugely disappointing that the EIS are planning to take strike action that will badly affect college students in the run up to their exams.
“We have already agreed an average pay rise of 9% over the next two years, but the EIS wants to strike to also get an increase in holidays to 66 days and a reduction in class contact time to 21 hours.
“The employers are offering 56 days holiday and up to 26 hours class contact time, which we believe is a good package that would be warmly welcomed in other sectors.
“Our door remains open and we are happy to continue discussions with the EIS, but they have to accept that we both signed up to a total package in March 2016, including changes to terms and conditions, not a pay-only deal.”
Listen to the views of John Kelly, President of The EIS-Further Education Lecturers Association, below.