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Union requests FE pay forum

Ex-partners from Glasgow try again as a twosome, and another pair seek relocation, reports Neil Munro

Half of Scotland's FE colleges had still not reached a pay settlement with their lecturers by October this year.

Latest figures compiled by the Educational Institute of Scotland show 23 colleges had struck deals, averaging around 2.84 per cent. Four colleges - Building and Printing in Glasgow, along with Nautical Studies in Glasgow, Orkney and Shetland - have agreed increases of 4 per cent, while others have entered into two or three-year deals.

The average salary for lecturers at the top of the scale in the 23 colleges is now pound;27,534 compared with pound;26,732 last year. James Watt College lecturers enjoy the top maximum salary of pound;29,086, while Dumfries and Galloway are at the bottom, paying lecturers pound;25,468 at the top of the scale.

This wide differential for lecturers doing what the union regards as similar jobs in different parts of the country continues to be a key barometer for the EIS. Its leaders have described these pay disparities as a "national scandal," which fuels demands for a return to national bargaining at least around core elements of pay and conditions.

The union has gone a step further in its FE pay campaign by suggesting college lecturers should move on to the single pay scale that operates in universities.

In its response to the proposed merger of the further and higher education funding councils, the EIS points out that FE makes "an exceptional contribution" to the delivery of HE in Scotland - 30 per cent of Scottish higher education is now provided by colleges which also run degree programmes on behalf of HE institutions.

Despite this, the EIS states, "FE lecturing staff do not enjoy parity of esteem with their HE colleagues, particularly when it comes to matters of pay.

"The EIS would ask Ministers to consider establishing a forum to review the current disparities in pay and conditions across the FE sector and look at the benefits of assimilating FE college staff to the newly-established higher education single pay scale."

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