Friday, 21 November 2014

College dispute escalates

Industrial action by lecturers at the Kilwinning campus of Ayrshire College looks set to escalate after management suspended a union branch secretary following last Tuesday’s strike action.

Lecturers picketed the college (November 18) as part of official strike action following a decision by bosses to impose new working arrangements without consultation.  The EIS (Educational Institute for Scotland) had earlier balloted lecturers, receiving 86% support for strike action in opposition to the changes.

A further strike was already planned for Thursday (November 27), but management’s suspension of the trade union rep is being seen as an inflammatory act likely to make more difficult any attempt to resolve the dispute.

A lecturer at the Kilwinning campus told that union members have passed a motion of no confidence in Ayrshire college principal Heather Dunk.  The lecturer added, “Management have not consulted on the changes to timetables and working arrangements, they simply imposed them and threatened staff with disciplinary action if they did not comply.  That is no way to conduct business.”

Industrial action is set to escalate to two-day strikes in the first two weeks of December, with three-day strikes possible in January if no agreement is reached.  EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan said, “Our members are determined to take the necessary steps to protect their contractual rights.”

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