FORTH VALLEY College staff will join colleagues at 20 other colleges across Scotland in taking strike action in a row over pay and jobs.

Unison reported that more than 2000 support staff – including librarians, IT specialists, administrators, cleaners, canteen workers and estate management staff – will take to the picket lines on Thursday, February 29.

Staff say that they are still waiting for a pay rise that was set to come in September 2022, while also wanting colleges to guarantee that pay rises won’t be at the expense of jobs.

Unison is demanding college leaders make an improved pay offer along with a guarantee that there will be no compulsory redundancies if they want to avoid further disruption.

Chris Greenshields, Unison Scotland’s further education branch secretary, said: “College support staff deserve a fair pay rise without the threat of compulsory redundancies.

“Nobody wants to be on strike, but staff have been left with little choice. The union submitted a revised proposal to try and move things along back in December and it took college bosses two months to reject it.”

The dispute has been running for 18 months now, with union members overwhelmingly voting in favour of strike action in December.

During the December ballot, 81 per cent of union members voted in favour of further strikes in the college sector.

Essential college staff at Forth Valley will now down tools and join 20 other colleges in the country – including Fife College and West Lothian College – in the one day strike action at the end of this month.

Collete Bradley, chair of Unison Scotland further education committee, added: “Further education in Scotland is in chaos. It’s time for ministers to step and get this dispute sorted.

“College staff have not had a pay rise for 18 months, which is completely unacceptable in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis.

“Employees are simply demanding fair pay and no compulsory redundancies. If colleges want to avoid further disruption, they need to start taking those demands seriously.”