Breakthrough in college strike dispute

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Strikes planned by Further Education lecturing staff have been suspended after an agreement was reached by unions and employers.

The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) and Colleges Scotland, representing FE college principals, have reached a breakthrough in the FE sector dispute on Friday.

While some details have yet to be finalised, sufficient progress has been made to allow agreement in principle to be reached. As a result, the EIS has now suspended all future planned strike action.

Commenting on Friday, EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan said: “Following a further round of talks today we have reached a position where Colleges Scotland have agreed to Honour the Deal.

“This is a significant victory for EIS-FELA members and it means that the employers will move immediately to implement Phase 1 of the March 2016 pay agreement.”

“As a result, all future planned strike action is suspended”, Mr Flanagan added.

Mr Flanagan continued: “EIS-FELA members are thanked for their magnificent support and solidarity throughout this campaign – which has been focussed since the start on making management honour the deal. The members’ action has secured this win which will see equal pay delivered across the sector and create equitable common Terms & Conditions for the sector moving forward. This success by lecturers will also inspire other public sector workers fighting for fair pay.”

Commenting on the announcement that agreement has been reached to end the dispute between the EIS and the College Employers’ Association, Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “I am delighted that the intervention made by the Scottish Government over the last week has helped to facilitate an agreement to end the dispute between the EIS and the College Employers’ Association.

“Having put in place arrangements to allow for national bargaining, it has always been the case that resolution of this issue lay in the hands of employers and the union.

“The immediate suspension of next week’s strike action will be very welcome news for students and the wider agreement reached today will allow Scotland’s colleges to focus on delivering the high-quality education the sector is known for.”