Two years of college strikes come to an end after staff accept pay deal

West College Scotland staff strike
-Credit: (Image: Andrew Neil)

Scots college support staff have voted to accept a three-year pay deal, a union has said.

Unison said staff at 21 colleges including librarians, IT specialists, administrators and cleaners had voted to accept the latest offer from employers.

The deal gives workers a flat-rate increase of £5,000, paid in instalments over three years, and comes with a guarantee of no compulsory redundancies until September this year.

It is understood to be the first time a no-redundancy guarantee has been given within the college sector.

The deal brings to an end almost two years of industrial action, including strikes. Further industrial action has now been called off as a result of the agreement.

Unison Scotland further education branch secretary Chris Greenshields said: "This result would not have been reached without the resolve of Unison's members working in colleges.

"It took nearly two years of industrial action and the threat of strikes during exam periods to secure these concessions.

"Importantly, the new offer confirms a guarantee of no compulsory redundancies until September 2024, the first guarantee of its kind in the sector.

"If the employers had accepted similar proposals made by Unison last year, there would have been no need for industrial action. The Scottish government must learn lessons from this."

Unison Scotland further education branch chairwoman Collette Bradley said: "Colleges should be in absolutely no doubt that if they push through job cuts then there'll be a swift return to the chaos of industrial action and strikes.

"Scottish government minister Graeme Dey has been congratulating himself for proposing this three-year deal, but college staff still face real job insecurity. This makes a mockery of him saying he was unable to get involved in the dispute.

"Unison will now be demanding the minister does everything to ensure employers honour the deal and work with the union to avoid redundancies for next year."

The Scottish Government has been approached for comment.

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