On the run up to Christmas, EIS-FELA have been actively representing you in many ways. 2020 has been a difficult year for our members and for students. However, we have worked hard to try and protect jobs amidst a poor financial landscape in the sector and seek as safe a working environment as possible for EIS members. We recognise these are extremely challenging times for everyone and we are working to defend your rights.
After submitting a pay claim to Colleges Scotland in March, one week before lockdown hit, we commenced discussions in Autumn on pay. A settlement of 2% was accepted for the 20/21 pay round and you should be seeing that money in your pay packets by this month at the latest (backdated to September). While this award did not meet the entirety of our claim, we believe it is a reasonable settlement in the current circumstances.
EIS has made extensive representations to Scottish Government over the handling of the Covid crisis in FE. Safety for staff and students during this pandemic remains No.1 on our agenda. Updated guidance has (sometimes at very short notice) been subject to consultation with us, and while it cannot be said that it is perfect, it has been influenced by our representations on your behalf.
The summary of the guidance for the return of students in semester 2 as it relates to Colleges (and accommodation providers) is as follows:
Accommodation providers are expected to support students through this process. Where applicable, we encourage students to work with their accommodation providers to come to an appropriate resolution of issues around tenancy agreements. Accommodation providers should treat students sympathetically and take student's circumstances into account so that they are not disadvantaged.
College students – who largely do not move away from home to go to education – should return as planned, in line with the protection level for the area their college is in at that time.
You can read the full guidance document here: Coronavirus (COVID-19): student home visits.
New guidance on face covering and guidance on ventilation is being consulted upon and expected before Christmas. Once these are published, they will be available on the EIS website or direct from the Scottish Government website.
You should have received an email from us yesterday giving the EIS-FELA consultative ballot on furthering the National Lecturer De-professionalisation dispute:
Turnout of 72%,
With 93% voting in favour of using action short of strike action
With 86% voting in favour of using strike action.
This is a great turnout considering the short voting window and the conditions that we are all working and living in. It is a strong and clear mandate for our negotiators to continue and escalate this dispute. It also puts pressure on the Colleges Scotland and colleges to acknowledge the deep concerns of staff on this matter.
You can get details about the dispute and campaign here.
Sign the petition here.
Find out how to contact your MSP and download a template letter to send here.
We also encourage you to use the hashtag #CollegesNeedLecturers and upload your photo holding one of the campaign materials to your twitter feed.
You can also help by downloading the Video Conference Background graphic (right click to save to your computer and then set as the background on your Zoom, Teams or WebEx account).
All these actions help us raise the profile of the campaign to protect our profession and your terms and conditions from this fundamental attack by the employers.
NUS Scotland has today launched a call on Scottish Government to compensate student renters for costs of accommodation that they cannot use due to Covid. You can follow and support their campaign using the hashtag #StudentsDeserveBetter
Next year will see a roll out of vaccinations against Covid and hopefully a slow return to a more normal living. However, please remember, we are yet many months away from Covid being in the rear-view mirror and we all need to play our part in ensuring the safety of our families, friends, colleagues and students. We hope you have a great Christmas, but most importantly, a safe Christmas.
If you have any questions, please direct them to firstname.lastname@example.org
National Officer Further and Higher Education