ACTION short of strike could be taken forward by "furious" lecturers at Forth Valley College, starting next week.

EIS union members from all three campuses, including Alloa, voted to take industrial action over the ongoing dispute around the introduction of instructor assessor roles.

As previously highlighted, concerns have been voiced that those entering the new role do not require a teaching qualification and will be paid less with more class contact hours.

However, since the industrial action was announced, the college told the Advertiser "constructive dialogue" had taken place with union representatives with a further EIS meeting to take place.

Those poised to take part in the action say they would do no more than the minimum required by their contract.

It is understood this would include a refusal to take an accurate student register and to cover for absent colleagues as well as a marking boycott.

The industrial action was originally to go ahead from November 10 and was planned to go on until the end of January next year, unless a resolution is found.

The college's principal claimed the instructor assessor role was introduced to "enhance the learning experience".

However, Anne-Marie Harley, EIS Forth Valley College branch convener, said: "We are furious that the college is trying to attack our contracts and profession during a global pandemic.

"We hope that management will reconsider their position and we will continue to seek a resolution, but this result shows that staff are more than prepared to take action to defend our livelihoods and our students' right to quality education."

She previously told the Advertiser that lecturers were prepared to take action just before the pandemic initially hit the country, but decided not to disadvantage students at a difficult time and asked management not to press ahead with the changes.

The ballot for the industrial action saw a turnout of 53 per cent with 80 per cent of participating members voting in favour.

Dr Ken Thomson, college principal, said the action would have a "serious detrimental effect for our students".

However, in an update he said: "We are pleased to have had constructive dialogue with union representatives today as we try to find a resolution to the current dispute.

"We have put forward a number of points for consideration, which [EIS] will now take back to their members before a further meeting."

He added the instructor assessor role was now "a critical part of our core delivery" and that "we need to move forward".

Lecturers previously described the move as a "retrograde step".

Larry Flanagan, EIS general secretary, said: "It is clear that these changes are about cutting costs – no matter the impact on the quality of education.

"Members across Scotland are concerned that the professional role and status of college lecturers is under threat."