COLLEGE lecturers walked out earlier this week as part of an ongoing dispute about fair wages.

Staff at Forth Valley College staged a picket line outside the Alloa campus, demanding a pay increase, which they say they haven’t seen in several years.

The group protested on Tuesday morning before marching to Keith Brown MSP’s office on Drysdale Street.

The strikers were members of the Educational Institute of Scotland – Further Education Lecturers Association, a sector dedicated solely to lecturers.

Speaking to the Advertiser after the protest, Anne-Marie Harley, branch convener of EIS-FELA, said: “This in pursuit of a pay rise.

“We’ve not had a pay rise since 2021 so this is an outstanding pay claim since 2022 which has rolled on for so long.

“We’re also concerned that any pay offer that we’ve been offered has been linked to potential redundancies.

“What we’re looking for is a pay rise that is in line with other public sector workers and that doesn’t come with potential redundancies.

“It’s gone on for all of this time, 2022 was the height of the cost of living crisis and we were expected to deal with that without having had a pay rise.”

Anne-Marie outlined fears that any pay offer on the table would come with redundancies, which would see people losing their jobs to make back the improve money being offered to lecturers.

This goes against what the group from EIS-FELA is campaigning for and they hope to secure an improved pay offer without putting anyone’s job at risk.

As part of the strike, Anne-Marie explained that the lecturers are withholding pupils grades despite having fully marked the work in an effort to sway their employers into a new deal.

“The strikes have been well supported,” she continued. “We’re taking strike action which including not putting in results of assessments, the work has been done and feedback given to students but we’re withholding the results.

“Our employers have told us if we don’t put the results in by a certain time, they’ll take 100 per cent of our wages from us.

“Many colleges, including Forth Valley, have issued threats and that has angered staff even more given the time we have waited for a pay rise.”

Forth Valley College confirmed that any lecturer found to not be fully performing their duties will be in breach of contract.

Principal Kenny MacInnes said: “Ensuring our students achieve their qualifications is a top priority and we must act in their best interests.

“Many learners experienced challenges progressing to their last session as a result of Action Short of Strike (ASOS) resulting boycott.

“This has been at the heart of our decision to take action this year in relation to anyone currently engaging in withholding a student’s results that then threatens their opportunity to progress.

“Any member of staff withholding students results and participating in the ‘resulting boycott’ between Monday, February 12 and Monday, July 15 will not be fully performing their contractual terms and conditions and would therefore be in breach of contract.

“As a consequence, 100 per cent of pay would be deducted if results are not submitted within agreed timescales.

“This is not a decision that has been taken lightly, however recording the marks/results on any piece of assessed work is time critical, and we have major concerns over the impact this ongoing national industrial action will have on our students.

“Our aim, as always, is to minimise the impact on learning and teaching wherever possible and ensure our students can complete their qualifications.”