Colleges’ vindictive threat against lecturers is a clear anti-trade union assault

The actions of Scotland’s colleges are reprehensible, and are drawn straight from the anti-trade union playbook, say EIS

23 Feb 2024| News

Colleges across Scotland are engaged in a clearly co-ordinated programme of intimidation against lecturers engaged in lawful industrial action, in a move that is set to further inflame a long-running dispute over pay and jobs.

Members of the Educational Institute of Scotland – Further Education Lecturers’ Association (EIS-FELA) are currently engaged in Action Short of Strike (ASOS) in the dispute, following a successful statutory ballot, including a work to rule and the withholding of results.

Colleges across Scotland are now threatening to employ the inflammatory anti-trade union tactic of “deeming” by withholding lecturers’ pay during the programme of ASOS, and even by claiming that all work that lecturers carry out during this period will be “voluntary” and, therefore, unpaid.

Commenting, EIS General Secretary Andrea Bradley said,

“The actions of Scotland’s colleges are reprehensible, and are drawn straight from the anti-trade union playbook so beloved by hard right-wing regimes and enabled by the UK government’s regressive anti-trade union laws. Colleges are public sector employers, and the Scottish Government has repeatedly pledged that the UK government’s oppressive anti-trade union laws should never be deployed to bully and browbeat public sector employees in Scotland. The fact that Scotland’s college employers are now colluding to use anti-trade union laws to further inflame this long-running dispute, rather than working collectively to reach a fair solution, is a mark of shame for Scotland’s college sector employers and, by extension, the Scottish Government.”

Ms Bradley has written to all college employers complicit in the threat to withhold pay, together with Scottish Government ministers, to express the EIS’s outrage and condemnation of the threats. The EIS has demanded that all such threats must be withdrawn, and warned that it will robustly defend the democratic and human rights of its members to engage in legitimate industrial action. A copy of Ms Bradley’s letter is available here, for information.