Further Education college lecturers who are members of the EIS/FELA tradeunion are taking strike action against a pay “deal” which has been imposed unfairly by college managements and the SNP Scottish government.
This pay deal does not meet the increased cost of living and comes on the back of effective pay cuts for years. Taking strike action, with all workers organised in a trade union, is the most powerful way to fight back against low pay and austerity cuts. That is why students should fully support the strikes as the lecturers are fighting not just for fair pay but against cuts and for a better education for all.
The strike on the 17th March is planned to be followed by further action next week and after the Easter holidays. Management, the college principals and the government are determined to impose an unfair pay deal. The EIS democratically voted to take strike action and the “deal” has still been imposed. This is because a victory for the college lecturers would give confidence to all workers, students and young people to fight back against the cuts.
Workers are fighting back against the austerity offensive. As well as college lecturers, teachers in West Dunbartonshire secondary schools have taken strike action against reorganisation of schools which means cuts. School janitors are also taking strike action in Glasgow. EIS/FELA should try to co-ordinate action with other workers going on strike and the trade unions nationally should call co-ordinated strikes against austerity and pay cuts/freezes. Students should go along and support the strike picket lines and participate in any demonstrations. Organise a meeting on campus and invite a striker to speak.
Email Socialist Students below to get involved and for a model motion to get your Student Association to support the lecturers strike.
For a living grant for all students
As well as cuts affecting student’s education, student debt is rocketing with the increased cost of living. Socialist Students campaigns for the cancellation of all student debt, for free education and for a living grant for all. The NUS demonstration on 23rd March in Edinburgh for increased bursaries is a start but a mass campaign for free education, living grants and rent control for student housing is urgently needed. This campaign should be linked with the trade unions opposed to all cuts and fully supporting fair pay for staff.
Socialist alternative needed
Both the SNP and Labour claim to be anti-austerity but they are implementing Tory cuts. 152,000 college places have been cut and there is a £6 million cut to university budgets this year. Councils are making the biggest cuts since devolution. Socialist Students calls for MSPs and councillors to refuse to implement Tory cuts and set no-cuts budgets, building a mass campaign to fight for the money stolen in austerity by the Tories in Westminster.
The SNP and Labour, and even parties like the Greens, rather than fighting austerity are proposing tax increases, pay cuts and freezes. Why should workers and young people bear the brunt of the capitalist crisis caused by the bankers and billionaires?The super-rich and big business should pay with higher taxation, there is no shortage of funding for wars and trident! Private companies also pocket millions from PFI deals from universities, schools and colleges.
Socialists believe education should be fully publicly owned, properly funded and democratically managed. We need to fight for socialist change. This crisis-ridden capitalist system based on profit for the 1% rather than human need is failing us all. We need to fight for a socialist world where the economy and resources are publicly owned and democratically planned and managed for the 99%.
The Scottish Trade Union and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) is standing in the coming election on these policies. You can also find out more about socialist ideas and how to fight back by joining Socialist Students.