ESSENTIAL staff at Forth Valley College downed tools for a day of strike action last week in an ongoing pay dispute.

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

These strikes were carried out as staff continue to wait for a pay rise that was set to come in September 2022.

College staff also want the guarantee that pay rises won’t come at the expense of jobs or cuts.

Chris Greenshields, branch secretary for Unison Scotland further education branch, hailed the drive of members who took to the picket lines.

He said: “Last week’s college strikes up and down the country demonstrate the continued resolve and anger of our members.

“Unison members in every college downed tools and took again to picket lines with a clear messaged to employers and the Scottish Government.

“[That message was] that jobs need to be secured and pay needs to be settled on a fair and equitable basis before business as usual resumes at Scotland’s colleges.”

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

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

With no resolve on the table, the essential staff at Forth Valley College downed tools and joined 20 other colleges in the country in a day of strike action.