LECTURERS at Forth Valley College went on a one-day strike for the third time this year and are threatening another if a pay dispute with their employers is not resolved.

Members of the EIS-FELA trade union picketed outside the college's Alloa campus on Wednesday, March 6, and another walk-out is looming for Thursday, March 21.

The industrial action came after negotiations between the trade union and the Colleges Scotland Employers' Association broke down.

The dispute between the two is over union members' pay: lecturers with the EIS-FELA are campaigning for a cost-of-living increase in line with public sector pay policy.

However, officials from Colleges Scotland claim they have made six improved pay offers during the course of negotiations – all of which have been turned down.

Pam Currie, EIS-FELA president, said: "[We] went into talks earlier this week in good faith in the hope of breaking the deadlock over lecturers' pay, management instead chose to issue a shopping list of demands around terms and conditions.

"This type of behaviour is simply unacceptable, and demonstrates that Colleges Scotland has little interest in settling this dispute."

Colleges Scotland's director of employment services John Gribben responded by saying: "College lecturers have seen substantial pay rises from the harmonisation deal agreed in May 2017 and significant improvements to their terms and conditions.

"This is the third time in four years that the EIS-FELA has gone out on strike and is, regrettably, now their default position."

Dr Ken Thomson, FVC's principal, said of the most recent strike: "All our campuses remained open during the day and where possible classes ran as normal.

"The college's senior management team will review the impact of the industrial action and will now look to put arrangements in place going forward to minimise any further disruption to our students and partners.

"We want to also make it clear that no students will be disadvantaged in regards to either their bursary or EMA funding as a consequence of the industrial action."