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Scotland's largest teachers union demands end to college redundancy threats

SCOTLAND'S largest teaching union held a demonstration today to demand an end to college redundancy threats.

The protest by the Educational Institute of Scotland’s Further Education Lecturers’ Association (EIS-FELA) also demanded action to avert cuts at colleges across the country.

Activists turned out as part of a national day of action to support members, particularly those at Forth Valley College, facing cuts to staffing, professional standards and vocational training.

The issues predate the coronavirus pandemic, with Forth Valley threatening job losses in February.

The college claims that no lecturers have lost their jobs, but up to 30 vacant posts are not expected to be filled.

Concerns have also been raised about the deskilling of the further-education workforce and cuts to vocational training at colleges in Fife and Lothian.

EIS general secretary Larry Flanagan said: “This is probably indicative of the fact we have a college sector that is poorly managed by principals who are concerned more with budget lines and finances than quality education in a key sector.

“I think we do have to be particularly firm with the stance, as it is a stance with the broader sector. I am absolutely certain if Forth Valley get away with this, you will see it repeated across the sector.”

Although the union cannot currently ballot members, it insisted that the issue was “not going away.”

Politicians lent their support to the cause, with Labour’s Iain Gray saying that his party believed the further-education sector was vital to Scotland’s future.

Green MSP Ross Greer also gave his party’s backing and confirmed that he would submit a question to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on the topic.

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