Strike action at Scottish colleges in row over pay and jobs, says UNISON

More than 2,000 support staff, including librarians, IT specialists, administrators, cleaners, canteen workers and estate management staff, at 21 colleges* in Scotland are to strike later this month in a row over pay and jobs, says UNISON today (Friday).

Staff say they are still waiting for a pay rise that was due in September 2022 and want colleges to guarantee any pay rises won’t be at the expense of jobs.

The college workers are due to walk out on Thursday 29 February, as part of the dispute that has been running for 18 months. Last December, the college employees voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action to continue their campaign for fair pay and to protect jobs.

The union says college leaders must make an improved pay offer and guarantee there will no compulsory redundancies if they want to avoid further disruption.

UNISON Scotland’s further education branch secretary Chris Greenshields said: “College support staff deserve a fair pay rise without the threat of compulsory redundancies.

“Nobody wants to be on strike, but staff have been left with little choice. The union submitted a revised proposal to try and move things along back in December and it took college bosses two months to reject it.”

Chair of UNISON Scotland further education committee Collette Bradley said: “Further education in Scotland is in chaos. It’s time for ministers to step and get this dispute sorted. College staff have not had a pay rise for 18 months, which is completely unacceptable in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis.

“Employees are simply demanding fair pay and no compulsory redundancies. If colleges want to avoid further disruption, they need to start taking those demands seriously.”

Notes to editors:
– *The 21 colleges where strike action is due to take place are: Ayrshire College, Borders College, City of Glasgow College, Dumfries & Galloway College, Dundee & Angus College, Edinburgh College, Fife College, Forth Valley College, Glasgow Clyde College, Glasgow Kelvin College, New College Lanarkshire, Newbattle Abbey College, North East Scotland College, South Lanarkshire College, University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) Argyll, UHI Inverness, UHI Moray, UHI North, West and Hebrides, UHI Perth, West College Scotland, and West Lothian College.
– In the December ballot asking staff if they were prepared to take further strikes, 81% voted in favour.
– UNISON is the public services union and Scotland’s largest union, representing over 2,000 workers in further education.