“An Attack on Working-Class Education”: Workers Unite in Defence of Jobs, Pay, and Further Education

The Scottish Socialist Party today joined members of EIS-FELA and UNISON at a major rally outside of the Scottish Parliament. College workers from both trade unions today took nation-wide strike action in defence of jobs and the future of Further Education in Scotland.

Threats to support staff and lecturer jobs in Further Education have been condemned as “an attack on working-class education”.

Members of EIS-FELA, UNISON, and the SSP rally outside the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh

SSP Trade Union Organiser Richie Venton, said:

“Members of EIS-FELA and UNISON in Further Education colleges across Scotland went on strike today, staged picket lines, and gathered in their hundreds in a noisy, powerful demonstration outside the Scottish parliament.

“Staff at City of Glasgow College are out on further prolonged strikes after 5 weeks of action prior to the summer holidays, against 100 compulsory redundancies issued by the overpaid megalomaniac CEO/Principal, Paul “£215,000-a-year” Little.

“Staff at Edinburgh College are striking against the victimisation of union activist Kevin Scally – the one and only lecturer made redundant against his will.

“Across Scotland, members of both unions are demanding the Scottish government get off the fence, cough up the funding to defend education of overwhelmingly working class people – and intervene to stop the abuse of power and abuse of public money by unelected, grotesquely overpaid Principals.

“The Scottish Socialist Party – including SSP by-election candidate Bill Bonnar – were out in force on picket lines and at the demo, showing our solidarity with all grades of workers.

“We share their demand for funding of Further Education, and a halt to all compulsory redundancies and pay cuts.

“Workers should never be expected to pay for a wage rise through redundancies.

“The SSP calls on the Scottish government to sack the boards – not hard-working staff – and usher in a system of democratically elected Boards of management, on skilled workers’ wages, not salaries even higher than the First Minister!”

Speaking outside the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh, UNISON rep Maree said:

“The college are refusing to give us a pay rise without the threat of job cuts.

“For years, colleges have been mis-spending funds – all the money is going to the people at the top, the college leaders. The government has not been calling them to account. It’s gotten to a point where staff have had enough.

“I’m in UNISON, which represents the support staff. There’s also the EIS-FELA, which is the lecturers’ union. We’re both on strike today, and for the next couple of weeks. We’re facing exactly the same issues.

“The government have let the college leaders away for too long with running colleges like absolute cowboys. They need to call them to account – to make sure that money is not being mis-used, to make sure that support staff and lecturing staff are not being cut.

“Colleges are going to die if it goes on like this. It’s an attack on working-class education.”

Bus shelter advertising board outside of City of Glasgow College reads: "Massive redundancies. Big cuts to courses for students. Larger pay packet for the Principal than the First Minister's. Little wonder EIS-FELA is on strike!"