Wednesday, 10 December 2014

College dispute: lecturer suspension lifted

A possible escalation of strike action at the Kilwinning Campus of Ayrshire College has been averted after a suspended lecturer returned to work.

College bosses took action against Ian Cochrane after they claimed to have received complaints from students.  However, trade unions argued the suspension was “politically motivated” and “victimisation”.  Mr Cochrane is a union rep at the college and had taken part in a picket at the Kilwinning Campus shortly before being suspended.

Staff are in dispute with management over a decision to impose timetable changes that have resulted in increased working hours for lecturers.  The Educational Institute for Scotland (EIS) point out bosses did not consult with staff ahead of implementing the changes.

Last week EIS members passed a ‘Motion of No Confidence’ in College Principal Heather Dunk.

Union officials had indicated an expansion of strike action was likely following Mr Cochrane’s suspension, but a joint statement issued today (December 9) by the EIS and Ayrshire College indicated this had been averted “owing to the conclusion of an investigation, following student complaints, and the return to work of a member of staff suspended during the investigation stage.”

EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan said, “I am pleased our member has been reinstated following the completion of an investigation.  The EIS will continue to support the member through any disciplinary process.”

College Principal Heather Dunk noted, “The investigation is now complete and the employee will return to college.  The disciplinary process will continue in line with college policy.”

The initial dispute over timetable changes and increased working hours for lecturers remains to be resolved.

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