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Workers rally for sacked at union rep at Edinburgh college

WORKERS rallied outside the City of Edinburgh College today to demand the re-instatement of a sacked trade unionist.

Lecturer and EIS-FELA union health and safety rep Kevin Scally was made redundant after what was described as a “rigged” process which targeted trade unionists at the college.

Mr Scally played a prominent role when workers at the institution walked out earlier this year over plans for redundancies as the college board sought to make over £5 million in cuts. 

The rep was made redundant through a decision “matrix” — one which involved the college taking no notes, and which the college was unwilling or unable to explain.

His colleagues at the college were joined at the rally by students and by fellow trade unionists in USDAW, and CWU —  as well as STUC deputy general secretary, Linda Somerville.

EIS-FELA branch convenor Mike Cowley told the Star that the cuts at the college have left it with only one member of staff in the events department, and no stone masonry department in Edinburgh, a city renowned for its architecural heritage and international events — something he branded “crazy.”

He added:“The matrix was cast so wide that it included conversations that individual lecturers had had with the managers years before.

“It’s not a coincidence that they’ve now gone after Kevin, who’s been a rep for ten years.

“This is wider though, the cuts to colleges across the country show that management and the Scottish government are trapped in neoliberal managerialism and monetisation.

“They talk about a just transition, but without further education, you can’t retrain the oil workers, or begin the training for working-class kids that are going to go into those sustainable jobs.

“This could be a hub of just transition training, but we have management that’s more interested in greenwashed freeports which fit with their anti-trade union ethos.”

Mr Scally paid tribute to his family and all those who had offered him solidarity and support, telling the rally: “I see faces I know, and I see faces I don’t know here today.

“People have been giving up pay to go on strike in solidarity and words seem totally inadequate.

“This support is something I will cherish my whole life.

“We have to win this, we can win this, and we will win this.”

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