@CollegesScot Employers’ Association Statement – @EISFela Dispute 

28 Apr 2021: Colleges Scotland Employers' Association and EIS-FELA have today confirmed they have ratified a joint agreement following recent strikes in the college sector.

A spokesperson for the Colleges Scotland Employers’ Association, said:

“The Colleges Scotland Employers’ Association has unanimously ratified a resolution to the dispute as agreed with the EIS-FELA last week.  We welcome the EIS-FELA’s acceptance of the resolution, and their commitment to end strike action.

“This is great news for students and their lecturers.”

Commenting Matt Crilly, NUS Scotland President, said:

“I am delighted that both Colleges Scotland and EIS-FELA have come to a joint resolution, bringing to an end strike action.

“This agreement is a relief to thousands of students and staff alike, and safeguards the quality of our education in Scotland colleges.

“Focus now needs to turn to ensuring as many students as possible are able to qualify on time this year."


Strike Action Suspended in Scotland

23 Apr 2021: A spokesperson for Colleges Scotland, said:

“Following lengthy and productive discussions today [23 Apr], good progress was made and a consensus position reached which both sides are taking to their respective memberships.  

“As a result of the position reached, the strike action planned for Tuesday 27th and Wednesday 28th April 2021 has been suspended.

“The suspension is good news for students and staff.”


Colleges Scotland committed to reaching a resolution with the EIS-FELA 

20 Apr 2021: College representatives met with the EIS-FELA today (20 Apr) to seek a resolution to the ongoing dispute #CollegesNeedLecturers.

Commenting on the EIS-FELA Dispute a spokesperson for the Colleges Scotland Employers’ Association, said:

“Colleges value lecturers and there is no national plan to replace them.  We are committed to reaching a resolution with the EIS-FELA.  We met today and suggested a way forward.  This should provide reassurances that the quality of education delivered in colleges will continue to be of the highest standard. 

“Colleges are pulling out all the stops to ensure that students can achieve their qualifications and are taking steps to avoid disruption for individuals. 

“We have agreed to meet the EIS-FELA again on Friday to continue discussions.”

An EIS-FELA spokesperson said:

"EIS-FELA members have continually made their feelings clear over the last few weeks - all students deserve to be taught by a lecturer. Our ASOS ballot is now open. Members are urged to vote YES and defend the unique role of the lecturer in Scottish FE."

Turnout for today’s strike action was 39.9%.  Turnout on the three previous days of strike action this year was 42.1% (out of the total headcount of lecturers in Scotland). Of lecturers balloted, 53.4% have taken part in the strike action.  


The EIS-FELA opened a further ballot for its members to take industrial action, to the disappointment of colleges 

8th Apr 2021: The EIS-FELA opened a further ballot for its members to take industrial action, to the disappointment of colleges.  This additional ballot asks its members to take action short of strike action, such as working to rule and/or a resulting boycott.  This latest unnecessary move would be in addition to the three strike days which have already taken place, and the 11 days of strike action planned for April and May.

A spokesperson for the Colleges Scotland Employers’ Association, said:

“Colleges will do everything they can to ensure that students are supported during this difficult time, and that any disruption is minimised.

“The EIS-FELA has refused repeated requests to suspend the strikes while meaningful discussions carry on – national industrial action is wholly unnecessary.” 

Turnout on the three days of strike action which have taken place to date in 2021 has been low – 42.1% of lecturers have taken part in strikes (out of the total headcount of lecturers in Scotland).  Of lecturers balloted, 53.4% have taken part in the strike action.


1st April 2021: The Educational Institute of Scotland Further Education Lecturers’ Association took further strike action on Wednesday, 31 March 2021 and Thursday, 1 April 2021, despite repeated requests to suspend action whilst talks continue.

The EIS-FELA continued with a planned programme of industrial action over their ballot which “centres on the replacement of lecturer posts with other posts at colleges across the country, to carry out work the EIS believes to be equivalent to the work of lecturers”. 

There is no national plan to replace lecturers with tutor/assessor/instructor roles, nor any other support staff roles.  The EIS-FELA agrees with this position.

Both sides are supportive of a national role profile for lecturers and is the basis of ongoing discussions.  The employers want to make sure the complex role of the lecturer is recognised and not diminished in any way.  The employers also need to ensure that in reaching a resolution for one bargaining group, we do not agree a solution which could impact adversely on staff not within scope of that bargaining group, i.e. college support staff.

A spokesperson for the Colleges Scotland Employers’ Association, said:

“Both sides agree that there is no national plan to replace lecturers with other roles, yet the EIS-FELA refuse to call off the strikes.  The EIS-FELA has breached national bargaining protocols by striking while talks continue.

“There is only one outstanding issue still to be agreed.  This is around the wording of a national role profile for lecturers, which both sides are supportive of.  The employers view is that this is a holistic role profile, however, the EIS-FELA view is that just some of the core responsibilities are necessary to deem someone a lecturer.

“We also need to ensure that any agreement reached with the EIS-FELA doesn’t negatively impact on tutor/assessor/instructors, who are support staff.

“Tutor/assessor/instructor roles are vitally important to the learning experience in colleges as many will come direct from industry with the knowledge and experience required to give students undertaking practical elements of courses industry-standard skills.”


25th March 2021: During recent industrial action, the majority (59%) of lecturers across Scotland did not go out on strike.

A spokesperson for the Colleges Scotland Employers’ Association said: 

“It is extremely disappointing that the EIS-FELA is taking unnecessary industrial action despite repeated requests to suspend any action while negotiations are ongoing. 

“It appears that the EIS-FELA has not considered the impact that strike action will have on students who are trying to complete their courses by the end of the academic year in the midst of lockdown restrictions.

“The EIS-FELA agrees that there is no national plan to replace lecturers’ with other roles yet are still continuing to strike.  There is also a consensus position on the content of a national role profile for lecturers.  

“We are still working through one detail of the national role profile with the EIS-FELA, and the employers want to make sure it recognises the complex and professional nature of the role that lecturers undertake.  We also need to be confident that, in reaching a resolution, we don’t agree a solution that could impact adversely on staff not within scope of EIS-FELA, i.e. support staff.  As employers, colleges have a duty of care to all staff.

“The employers’ representatives have agreed to another meeting with the EIS-FELA, and the date will be confirmed in due course.”

Tutor/assessor/instructor roles are not new to the college sector; they have been in place within colleges across Scotland for a considerable number of years to deliver a diverse curriculum and qualifications which best suits the needs of the learner and the subject matter being taught. 

The college sector is not the only sector which uses a variety of different roles to deliver services, for example, teachers and teaching assistants, solicitors and para-legals, dentists and hygienists, nurses and nursing assistants.

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