With upcoming lecturers' strikes scheduled for Monday 20th May, Thursday 23rd May, Tuesday 28th May, Thursday 30th May and Friday 31st May, as well as a full week of strikes on the week of 3rd-7th June, we held an open information session for all students where they could ask questions about the upcoming strike action. We have compiled a list of questions and answers, and hope that this is useful for students going forward.

Why are lecturers striking?

Lecturers are striking because of nationwide negotiations about pay, specifically in relation to a pay deal that covers 2022-2025.

What is the resulting boycott?

The 'resulting boycott' is part of what is called Action Short of Strike Action (or ASOS). As part of this, lecturers may informally let students know how they have done in assessments, but might not enter results into official marking systems. The College's response to this is that not resulting students is a breach of contract and that this may result in lecturers not getting paid until results are entered. 

How do I know if my lecturer is taking part in the strikes or resulting boycott?

Legally, workers are not required to let their employers (and in this case, students) know if they are going to be on strike. However, we would suggest talking to your lecturer about this and they might be willing to give you a heads up if they're not going to be in College that day. As a rule, during the strike action, College classes will not be going ahead unless you are told otherwise by your lecturers. However, College buildings will be open and you'll be able to use the library and online resources.

Are lecturers getting paid while striking?

No, when workers are on strike, they don't get paid. That is part of the reason this is such a high pressure moment for everyone involved.

Is there anything students as individuals can do to stop the strikes?

Unfortunately because this is a Scotland-wide issue, the conversations and negotiations are going on at a high level and there's a limited amount individuals can do to change the situation. The College sector has taken a huge funding cut from the Scottish Government (equal to £98 million) and so we are advising all students to write to their local MSP about how their education is being impacted. This would highlight the issue to politicians and raise the profile of the challenges students are facing, and writing in your own words has the most impact. We believe that lecturers' working conditions are students' learning conditions and that the sector deserves to be properly funded, a stance echoed by the National Union of Students Scotland. You can find out who your local MSP is by entering your postcode on the Scottish Parliament website here.

What happens if my class doesn't cover all our course work on time because of days lost to strike action?

This will vary from course to course, but the College has said that they are committed to doing everything they can to ensure students can complete their courses. This may mean that assessments are adjusted or extended to allow students to complete, but this will be decided on a case-by-case basis. If you are concerned about this for your course, you can get in touch with us to explain the specifics and we can highlight your concerns in our conversations with senior management.

Will my visa be impacted if I'm an international student?

Many of our international students are concerned about how the strike action, and especially the resulting boycott, could impact their visa status. Please reach out to the College's International Team for advice and information either on email: international@edinburghcollege.ac.uk or by phone +44 (0) 131 297 9995.

I'm going to university next year, and some students in my class are already enrolled and doing university modules as part of our course, but we need certain grades to be able to progress. How does this impact us?

We are aware that those students who are on courses with specific articulation routes into university will be particularly worried about the impact the resulting boycott might have on their progression. Edinburgh College has productive working relationships with local universities, and so the risk of university places being impacted is minimal. However, we have raised this issue with the College's senior management team and they are working to minimise the impact on students. Please contact us if you are concerned about your course specifically.

As ever we advise you to continue to check your college email for the latest updates, as well as the Industrial Action page on the College Website. We are here to support students at this challenging time and if you need to get in contact with us or have any questions, you can contact us via Live Chat on our website, or email contact@ecsa.scot.