Strike action from EIS continues in Edinburgh and West Lothian over lecturing staff pay at Scotland's Rural University College

Picket lines will continue to dominate the entrances at SRUC campuses across the country, including Edinburgh and West Lothian, as industrial action is taken by EIS SRUC members for the first time over a long-running dispute over pay and grading.

By Hannah Brown
Tuesday, 5th October 2021, 4:45 pm
Updated Wednesday, 6th October 2021, 1:08 pm
Picket lines all over Scotland of EIS SRUC members taking industrial action for the first time (Photo: EIS).
Picket lines all over Scotland of EIS SRUC members taking industrial action for the first time (Photo: EIS).

Lecturing staff and EIS members at Scotland’s Rural University College (SRUC) are currently engaged in a programme of industrial action across all SRUC campuses.

It comes as the pay offer made by SRUC management to their lecturing staff would have resulted in sub-inflation pay awards.

With SRUC staff already being paid significantly less than FE and HE lecturers in other institutions, the offer was swiftly rejected by the EIS.

The fist day of strike action was last week on Thursday and a second day of strike action will take place tomorrow on Wednesday October 6.

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Campuses where a picket line will be established include SRUC King's Buildings in the southside of Edinburgh and the SRUC Oatridge in West Lothian.

EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan said: “Following a well-supported day of strike action last week, our members are SRUC are continuing with industrial action today. Pay for lecturers at SRUC has fallen significantly behind the norms across both the Further and Higher education sectors. It is time for management at SRUC to stop dragging their feet and commit to paying their lecturers fairly for the vital work that they do.”

Mr Flanagan added, “Lecturers at SRUC are not taking strike action lightly, and have displayed great patience while awaiting a fair pay agreement. After many years of dither and delay, SRUC management have – at the eleventh hour – finally come back with an offer to take forward a pay and grading review by Autumn 2023.

"This ‘offer’ from the employer is far too little and far too late – it is clearly a belated attempt to head off strike action but comes with so many missing elements and unknowns for members that it is essentially meaningless.”

A recent EIS statutory ballot provided a legal mandate for a move to industrial action, including strike action.

Support for industrial action short of strike was 93% and support for strike action was 86%.

A spokesperson for Scotland’s Rural College said: “We are disappointed by the actions of the EIS leadership. We have made strong progress in these areas and EIS have been involved and consulted every step of the way.

“We encourage the EIS to re-engage with our agreed internal dispute mechanism, including the ongoing offer of external mediation to resolve any specific concerns they may have.

“We are fully committed to a review of pay and grading, which has already started. We have made a significant offer to our trade union partners on a pay increase for all employees for 2021/2022."

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