College staff will begin industrial action this week which will stretch into May, it has been announced.
The trade union EIS-Fela is taking its members out on 14 days of discontinuous strike action beginning Wednesday, 20th April extending to three scheduled strikes in the week beginning 23rd May.
The action follows the rejection of a pay offer from College Employers Scotland to all lecturing staff an extra £1,000 this year, equivalent to an average increase of 2.2 per cent.
An increased offer has since been rejected said Alex Linkston, chairman of College Employers Scotland.
He said: “We are extremely disappointed that students face possible disruption from the unnecessary actions of the EIS-Fela.
“We met again and put forward an increased offer to try and avoid industrial action – this was again rejected.
“The additional offer would give every lecturer an extra £50 in their pockets now.
“This is on top of the £1,000 already offered which is well above what teachers, civil servants, police, and fire service have already accepted.”
He added: “Despite the £5.7m deficit the sector is in this academic year and upcoming budget cut of £51.9m, we have stretched our offer to lecturers beyond what we can actually afford as we recognise the outstanding work that staff have carried out throughout the pandemic.
“Colleges are at their financial limit, and we simply cannot afford to offer anything more. We would urge lecturing staff to reconsider and accept the offer on the table.”
Shetland UHI will remain open with contingency plans in play.
A UHI spokesman said: “UHI Shetland will strive to minimise the disruption to learners caused by the imminent EIS-FELA strike.
“Both college campuses will remain open, and although there will be some cancelled classes, there will be student study spaces and library services available, and student support available both on site and remotely.”