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Holiday cut sparks walkout

Lecturers at Lauder College in Fife staged a one-day strike on Tuesday in a dispute over plans to create new posts, shed old ones, cut holidays and introduce longer hours. The college blames Government underfunding, but the College Lecturers' Association says the management is going further than necessary.

At last week's annual conference of the Scottish Further and Higher Education Association, the smaller FE union, a number of delegates reported clashes over restructuring. The disappearance of national bargaining has made co-ordinated union responses almost impossible.

Janet Lowe, Lauder's principal, said student numbers had risen by 30 per cent while Scottish Office funding had risen by 0.25 per cent.

But Graham Watt, branch convener of the CLA which represents three-quarters of the lecturing staff, said this was the third restructuring in two years. The principal had already acknowledged publicly that "efficiency savings" exceeded Scottish Office requirements.

The dispute centres on the redesignation of a number of senior posts. A major sticking point is a reduction in holiday entitlement from 12 weeks to eight for 20 of these posts. The college has increased its pay offer from 1 per cent to 2 per cent plus a single payment of Pounds 100 per lecturer. Ms Lowe says the package is a "best offer" given the college's financial pressures.

Wilson under fire, page 30

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