Lecturers have already staged 4 single-day strikes so far since January and are set to continue into May as well as escalating their action.

This page is designed to answer all your questions about the impact it might have on you and your fellow classmates. 

Click on a question below to find out more or scroll down through the page for full details


What has happened?

This is a national dispute across all Colleges in Scotland. Representatives of the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) negotiate on behalf of Lecturers on pay and conditions at a national level. They negotiate with representatives from the Colleges Scotland Employers Association to agree and implement pay & conditions for College staff in Scotland. This is called the National Joint Negotiating Committee (NJNC).

In October 2018, these negotiations broke down and the EIS Representatives balloted their members on strike action. In December, EIS announced that there would be a series of 1-day strikes in the second half of the academic year. 

These strike days have now taken place and further negotiations have not yielded any agreement, so EIS have now balloted their members for further action. This ballot closed at the end of March and EIS have announced that, not only will they be taking forward 3 more days of strikes in May, but they will also be escalating their action. This will include a “withdrawal of goodwill” and “action short of a strike”. Find out more about the details of the dispute here.


What action is planned and when?

EIS have announced 3 more days of strikes on:

  • Wednesday the 8th of May This date has been suspended
  • Wednesday the 15th of May
  • Thursday the 16th of May


They are also now conducting “Action Short of a Strike”, which will take 2 forms:

  1. “Resulting Boycott” – Not uploading student assessment results to College Systems
  2. “Withdrawal of Goodwill” – Working strictly to their terms of contract


What is a “Resulting Boycott”?

Part of the “Action short of a strike” will be in the form of not uploading student assessment results.

EIS have said that they will continue to ensure that:

  • assessments are set
  • assessments are marked 
  • outcomes of assessments are fed back to students in the normal way (verbal/written)

However, crucially, they will not formally upload these results to the College systems.


What is “withdrawal of goodwill”?

The second part of the “Action short of a strike” involves lecturing staff working strictly to their contracted terms of employment. This means that they will not be conducting any duties or tasks that they would deem to be ‘voluntary’ or outwith their contracted hours of work. According to EIS, this could include:

  • only working contracted hours per week
  • not working outside of normal working hours, including answering e-mails, marking assessments, or preparing classes
  • taking a full lunch break and not conducting any work during this time
  • not attending any voluntary projects or meetings on behalf of the college


What does all of this mean for me?

As the national dispute continues, strike action and “action short of a strike” will undoubtedly have an impact on you as we move towards exam season. 

Full details on the arrangements for each of the strike days will be published by the College nearer the time, but, please be assured that ECSA are working closely with the College to minimise disruption to your studies, particularly during the exam period. As with previous strike days, no bursary or other student support payments will be impacted as a result of lecturers being on strike.

All scheduled examinations will take place on the dates they are set for, even if they fall on strike days, so you should expect to be prepared for your assessments as normal. If you are scheduled to be on placement on a strike day, you should attend as normal. All College campuses will continue to be open on strike days and all support departments will be open as normal.

The College are working closely with Scottish universities to ensure that Edinburgh College students who are applying to University are not disadvantaged. 

To make sure you don't miss out on the most up to date information, make sure you check your college e-maill account daily and follow the College's social media channels:


What do ECSA think about all of this?

At a local level, ECSA will continue to work with colleagues across the institution and beyond to get as much information as possible. We will also support students where they feel disproportionately disadvantaged by this action. 

Happy lecturers make for a better learning experience for all students. We do not want our lecturers to feel as if they have to not come to work or not result students to make their point. This action has dragged on since January and is now going to eat into the most critical and stressful part of the academic year for students. Equally, we are aware that this is not an issue that can be rectified here at Edinburgh College – it will require the collective efforts of all lecturers and College employers to compromise and not put unnecessary additional stress on students at this crucial time of year. 

ECSA does not want students to bear the brunt of a dispute which has nothing to do with them. We strongly encourage both EIS and the Colleges Scotland Employers’ Association to put students first and get back round the negotiating table to find a solution as soon as possible.


What is the dispute about anyway?

In 2017, EIS & the Employers Association agreed to a 3-year implementation of a deal to harmonise pay across all College Lecturers in Scotland between 2017 and 2020. 

EIS claim that this means that many of their members will receive no increase in pay across this 3-year period and have asked for a cost of living increase in each of the 3 years.

Colleges Scotland have said that the 3-year deal gives an average of 12% increase in lecturers’ salaries across the country – EIS disputes the accuracy of this figure as it does not take into account the potential annual increments that lecturers would otherwise have received.

Both EIS and CS have proposed numbers for cost of living increases in each of the 3 years, none of which have been accepted by the other party. There is now a discussion around how (if at all) any increases in salary may impact on terms & conditions of lecturing staff. This is where the negotiations have completely broken down and EIS continue to escalate their industrial action.

More information: