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Highland MSP joins UHI Inverness staff on picket line over fair pay for lecturers

By Ali Morrison

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Clifford Hier, Paul Shanks, Norman Wilson, Karen-Ann Dicken, John Beaton, Karen Mackay, Gordon Wink and Rhoda Grant, Labour MSP. Picture: James Mackenzie
Clifford Hier, Paul Shanks, Norman Wilson, Karen-Ann Dicken, John Beaton, Karen Mackay, Gordon Wink and Rhoda Grant, Labour MSP. Picture: James Mackenzie

A Highlands MSP has branded pay for further education lecturers as ‘clearly inadequate’ as strike action continues.

Labour MSP Rhoda Grant expressed her support for UHI Inverness staff as she joined EIS-FELA trade union members at the picket line outside the city campus this morning.

Ms Grant said: “I support the right of UHI staff to engage in industrial action to try and secure a fair pay offer from their employers.

“There has to be better pay, terms and conditions for the work they do.

“The lecturers at the college play a key role in delivering a high-quality educational experience for students, equipping the young people with the skills they need.

“It is lamentable that they are once again being forced to fight for fair pay and better terms and conditions.

“The last time Scotland’s further education lecturers received a pay uplift was in August 2021. Everyone knows that the cost of living and inflation mean that pay from three years ago is clearly inadequate now.

“My colleague Pam Duncan Glancy MSP, Scottish Labour’s shadow cabinet secretary for education, has repeatedly raised the issue of inadequate government funding and the impact it is having on the college sector in Parliament, and will continue to push the SNP Government to do more to support the sector and enable this dispute to be resolved.”

Members of trade union EIS-FELA, which represents Scottish college lecturers, has been taking action across the country over the past week.

Staff striking at UHI Inverness were today joined by similar turnouts at Borders College, City of Glasgow College and UHI North, West and Hebrides.

Commenting on the strike action earlier this month, EIS-FELA president Anne-Marie Harley said, "Once again EIS-FELA members are being forced to take strike action in pursuit of a fair pay offer. It is a disgrace that in 2024 our members are living on 2021 wages, amidst the worst cost of living crisis in generations.

"We should have had this money in our payslips in September 2022. For many EIS FELA members, the amount of money tabled in the second and third years of the current offer falls below current public sector pay policy.

"The EIS-FELA does not accept that our members should be treated any differently to any other public sector workers and are simply seeking a fair pay offer which properly reflects the invaluable work that we do."

A statement from UHI Inverness on Facebook advised that campuses may be affected by strike action on both Monday April 22 and Wednesday May 1.

The statement read: “We do not know in advance how many lecturers will participate in this strike action, but our campuses will remain open, and it is anticipated that most of our staff will be teaching as usual.

“If you have queries, please contact studentsupport.ic@uhi.ac.uk.”

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