Last chance for Scottish government action to prevent college crisis, says UNISON

Further education support staff are lobbying the Scottish Parliament today (Thursday) to call on MSPs to help prevent a crisis in Scotland’s colleges, says UNISON.

The lobby will take place outside the Scottish Parliament today (Thursday) at 10.30-11.30am. UNISON has written to all MSPs asking them to come outside to sign large postcards supporting their campaign.

Earlier this year, college support staff voted overwhelmingly for strike action in their pay dispute and because their have been long delays in updating their job contracts. This means students will start the new academic year with the prospect of strikes.

The union believes that Scotland’s colleges are in crisis. It says staff need a fair pay rise and there should be no compulsory redundancies, in line with rest of the public sector. The union is also calling for a thorough review of finances and governance in Scotland’s colleges.

UNISON Scotland further education branch secretary Chris Greenshields said: “College support staff voted overwhelmingly to take strike action in April. UNISON is doing everything it can to avert action. No-one wants students to start college in the middle of industrial disruption.

“But colleges are in crisis. That’s why UNISON is calling on MSPs to put pressure on the Scottish government for a fair pay settlement for staff. The union also wants to see an end to compulsory redundancies, and a review of the ongoing financial issues in further education. Colleges need to be held fully accountable for their public spending. This really is a final chance for the employers and government to see sense.”

Notes to editors:

UNISON is the union for college support staff. It is Scotland’s public service union and the largest union in Scotland.

Colleges where UNISON has a mandate to take strike action are: Ayrshire, Borders, City of Glasgow, Dumfries & Galloway, Dundee & Angus, Edinburgh, Fife, Forth Valley, Glasgow Clyde, Glasgow Kelvin, New College Lanarkshire, Newbattle Abbey, North East Scotland, South Lanarkshire, Univerity of Highlands and Islands (UHI) Argyll, UHI Inverness, UHI Moray, UHI North Highland, UHI Outer Hebrides, UHI Perth, UHI West Highland, West College Scotland, and West Lothian College.

The ballot result was on 13 April 2023. The trade dispute is over a failure to agree on pay and the national harmonisation of terms and conditions. Results for industrial action in the form of strike action: Total number voting “Yes”: 93%, Total number voting “No”: 7%, Turnout: 62%

For further information

John Mooney: 07976 701823

Danny Phillips: 07944 664110