LECTURERS at Forth Valley College will go on strike next Thursday, with classes at the Alloa campus postponed.

The latest round of industrial action comes as the teachers' union accuse Colleges Scotland of peddling "alternative facts" following the breakdown of talks.

Lectures went on strike in March 2016, citing a lack of progress in pay negotiations, but further planned action was cancelled after both the EIS union and management agreed a deal.

Recently, the two sides agreed for a third party to arbitrate over the implementation of that deal, but have since descended into a bitter war of words.

A nine per cent pay rise over the next two years has been agreed, but Colleges Scotland have said the EIS has called the action to get "more money for less work".

They have stated that the March 2016 agreement was not simply a pay deal and that there would be changes to conditions.

However, the union argue that it is the management side that have reneged on the binding agreement made last year.

With discussions at a stalemate, arbitration talks was set down.

Colleges Scotland then issued a statement accusing the EIS of blocking the agreed pay rise by holding out for more holidays and less teaching time.

A spokeswoman said: "The EIS needs to show a willingness to compromise.

"They are striking to get more money for less work when the deal put on the table by employers is not only fair but beneficial as it equates to an average pay rise of nine per cent for lecturers over the next two years.

"The only thing standing between lecturers and an average pay rise of nine per cent is the EIS's insistence on 66 days' holiday and a teaching working week of just 21 hours.

"The employers have already agreed the pay rise and proposed a generous package that would provide 56 days' holiday and a teaching working week of up to 26 hours, which members of the public will regard as a very good deal indeed.

"In the end, the EIS are calling a strike because they want more holidays and fewer working hours, and that is simply not realistic."

In response, Larry Flanagan, EIS general secretary, said: "It is deeply regrettable that the organisation representing college management, Colleges Scotland, continues to rely on an unnamed spokesperson to peddle alternative facts about the current ongoing discussions, the EIS position and the March 2016 NJNC agreement.

"Even in this post-truth era – where the promotion of fake news has been adopted at some of the highest levels of government – Colleges Scotland's attempts to retrospectively rewrite history are shameful."

Earlier this month, more than 96 per cent of EIS members working in colleges voted in favour of the strike.

EIS-FELA president John Kelly added: "As FE Lecturers, we know full well what was in the deal that was agreed to last year. We have voted overwhelmingly for a return to strike action due to the refusal of college management to deliver that deal, which they freely entered into last year.

"This latest mendacious publicity from Colleges Scotland – once again issued through an unnamed spokesperson – will only strengthen lecturers' resolve to stand firm against management's attempts to renege on the 2016 NJNC agreement."

Lecturers at the college will strike on Thursday as part of a continuing and escalating programme of industrial action.

Any schedule exams will not be affected, nor will any events set down for the day.

Details of further strikes will likely be announced in the near future.

A Forth Valley College spokesperson, said: "In the best interests of our learners, we have decided not to hold classes on the first day of planned action – Thursday, 27 April, 2017.

"However, all campuses will remain open and we are encouraging students to use our facilities for self-directed study.

"Scheduled exams and events – such as the Fantasy at Your Fingertips events at the Alloa Campus – will still go ahead as planned.

"In addition, our commercial salons and the Gallery Restaurant in Stirling will operate as normal.

"We are putting measures in place to minimise any disruption to our students and partners. Our focus as always is ensuring we continue to deliver the highest quality learning experiences for our students whilst all parties involved work towards a solution to this dispute."