Lecturing staff at Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) have overwhelmingly voted in favour of industrial action, including potential strike action, in a continuing dispute over pay and grading.
The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS), the country’s largest union for teachers and lecturers, today (Thursday) announced the result of a statutory industrial action ballot of its members at SRUC. The ballot displayed the strength of feeling amongst members, with an overwhelming vote in favour of industrial action up to and including strike action.
Commenting, EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan said, “This is a very clear ballot result which demonstrates the strength of feeling amongst EIS members at SRUC. Pay for lecturers at SRUC has fallen significantly behind the norms across both the Further and Higher education sectors, and the pay offer made to our members for this year was also completely inadequate. It is time for management at SRUC to pay their lecturers fairly and, also, to carry out a long-overdue pay and grading review that was previously agreed.”
The pay offer made this year by SRUC management would result in sub-inflation pay awards for the majority of EIS members, with almost half of all members being offered no pay increase at all. With SRUC staff already being paid significantly less than FE and HE lecturers in other institutions, the EIS has rejected this pay offer.
Mr Flanagan added, “This ballot result will send a strong message to SRUC that they can no longer take their academic staff for granted – they must now commit to delivering the pay and grading review and to pay their lecturing staff fairly. The EIS remains willing to enter into further discussions with SRUC management with a view to agreeing a negotiated solution to this dispute. The EIS would urge the management at SRUC to return to the negotiating table with a significantly improved offer, in the hope that strike action may yet be avoided.”
The result of the statutory ballot provides a clear legal mandate for a move to industrial action, including strike action. Support for industrial action short of strike was extremely strong (93% of those voting) and support for strike action was also very strong (86%). Turnout in the ballot was 65%, well above the legal minimum turnout set by the UK government’s trade union law restrictions.