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MSP urges college to drop pay docking threat

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By Zachary Hannay
MSP urges college to drop pay docking threat

DUMFRIES and Galloway College have been urged to drop threats to withhold the pay of lecturers currently engaged in strike action.

South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth wants the Scottish Government to fund a proper pay deal with workers.

The MSP joined striking EIS-FELA union members on the picket line at the college on Tuesday.

Members of the union are involved in a long-standing dispute over pay with Colleges Scotland and voted to take part in industrial action, including strikes but also a work-to-rule.

When strike action is carried out, lecturers lose their pay for any day they are on strike. However, the college have now written to around ten lecturers saying they will withhold pay from some lecturers involved in work-to-rule action. Known as ‘deeming’ the move means up to 100 per cent of pay is held back from staff taking part in so-called Action Short of Strike.

Mr Smyth said: “College lecturers have understandably voted for industrial action given that they haven’t had a pay deal for three years and have been offered a real terms pay cut that falls way short of what other public sector workers received.

“No-one wants to take industrial action and EIS-Fela union members know when they go on strike, they don’t be paid.

“But I fear the decision by the college to threaten to withhold the pay for staff on a work-to-rule is likely to throw fuel on the fire of a dispute that has already dragged on far too long.

“College lecturers have been waiting a long time for resolution to this dispute over pay and conditions – it’s just not acceptable.

“I understand the challenges colleges face trying to fund a pay deal when they have faced millions of pounds of cuts to their budget by the Scottish Government.

“That’s why I have continually called on ministers to intervene and provide the small amount of funding that would resolve this dispute.

“Colleges Scotland should also make that same call to the government to fund a proper pay deal. In the meantime, they should withdraw the threats of deeming, get round the table with the unions and properly negotiate.”


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