Tempers rise in the colleges;Leading Article;Opinion

14th May 1999 at 01:00
THE College Lecturers' Association, principal professional union in the sector, is caught between a rock and a hard place, and the pressure showed at its conference last weekend (page 23). Across the country relations with college managements have been difficult as institutions wrestled with change and with financial settlements that put many into deficit. Less than subtle management tactics have given succour to militant elements in the workforce at a time when moderate leadership is the hallmark of unionism in the school sector.

The different climate in FE and schools is the other source of difficulty for the college association. Activist lecturers claim that the school-dominated leadership of the Educational Institute of Scotland is supine. A no-confidence vote in the general secretary was carried overwhelmingly. It was a verdict not so much on Ronnie Smith personally as on the stranglehold that inhibits lecturers from taking unilateral industrial action.

But FE colleges are autonomous and flare-ups are prompted by local problems. In the view of lecturers, the EIS has paid little regard to redundancies or imposed changes of practice. So frustration is vented as much against union leaders as against the employers. While some principals may read of the EIS's discomfiture with a smirk, others will realise that good union relations are a prerequisite to involving staff in necessary change.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today