Talks planned in bid to end college strike action

Picket line at Glasgow Clyde college, Battlefield Road

Talks will take place later to try to end the college lecturers strike in Scotland.

Lecturers at most colleges are on strike for the second time this week in a row over pay.

College Employers Scotland (CES) has offered lecturers a three year deal worth £5,000, which is partly backdated to 2022 - but unions say this is poorer than offers made to other public sector workers.

If there is no tangible progress in today's meeting, seven more national strikes are planned over the next fortnight.

The EIS FELA union has raised concerns that colleges may need to cut jobs and services to afford the increase.

College Employers Scotland say the Scottish government has made it clear it will not give colleges more money for pay.

Industrial action over pay has been taking place for several months. The impact has varied between different courses and colleges but generally college buildings have remained open.

Any pay offer has to be affordable to all colleges , however some are in a stronger financial position than others.

Before the first of this week's strikes, CES stated that the action was "bewildering" and that it would "cost individual lecturers over £1000."

The CES also said that there would not be an improved pay offer.

It added: "With strikes and a resulting boycott scheduled to take place during the exam period, students will, once again, be the ones who suffer.

"However, learners can be reassured that colleges will put in place mitigations to minimise any disruption."

Impact on students

One student who has been affected by the action is Ryan Donachie, a mature student studying humanities at Glasgow Kelvin College.

He was due to complete an assessment on Monday but this was delayed because of the strike, and he does not know when the assessment will now take place.

Mr Donachie - who was recently elected as the college's student president for welfare - told BBC Scotland News that he supported his lecturers' cause and believes the college sector needs to be better funded.

He said: "Students have seen quite significant impacts over the past year. EIS FELA members have quite regularly been out on strike throughout the year to a point where we were almost seeing one strike a week.

"That has meant we've had assessments moved, we've had assessments changed."

Mr Donachie said that because of the disruption, any student on a course which runs for more than a year would automatically move on to the next part of the course.

However, he was worried that this could actually harm any students who were not actually ready to move on.

Three more strikes are due next week with four the following week.

The EIS FELA union said staff would rather be teaching than striking.

A spokesperson said: "The revised four year pay claim submitted by the EIS FELA would allow for both staff and students to have stability and facilitate progress on other national issues.

"However the strength of the EIS FELA members to continue with industrial action should not be underestimated."