Colleges across Scotland could be hit by strikes after lecturers voted to walk out in their pursuit of a fair pay rise.

Members of the EIS-Further Education Lecturers Association (EIS-FELA), who are lecturers across the nation's 26 further education colleges are looking for an uplift in excess of the 2 per cent they were offered in December.

On a turnout of 53%, with 78% voting in favour of strike action and 94% backing action short of a strike.

The union has decided to adopt action short of a strike in the form of withholding student results from college systems and a withdrawal of goodwill (with college lecturers no longer carrying out duties beyond contractual requirements).

The dispute will be escalated to strike action at the start of the new academic year if no acceptable pay offer is forthcoming.

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EIS General Secretary, Andrea Bradley, said: “The Scottish Government and college leaders must heed the warning of this statutory ballot and commit to meaningful negotiations to settle this pay dispute.

"The current pay offer is 10% less than the current rate of inflation and is thus a huge real terms pay cut. This group of public sector workers deserve better and need to be treated fairly and equitably by College Employers Scotland, with Scottish Government support if necessary.”

Commenting, EIS-FELA President, Anne-Marie Harley said: “It is bitterly disappointing that college lecturers are set to take industrial action for the eighth time in nine years.

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"For too long, the intransigence of college employers has plunged the Further Education sector into the disruption caused by industrial action.

"The Scottish Government too cannot wash its hands of this situation when it has intervened across other parts of the public sector to settle pay disputes.

"Whilst we have this industrial action mandate, we would prefer to negotiate a fair pay deal for college lecturers without the need for sustained industrial action.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “It is for the college unions and the employers to negotiate pay and terms and conditions voluntarily, in the spirit of collaboration and co-operation. The Scottish Government is not directly involved in the national collective bargaining process.

“It is important that unions and college employers continue to hold talks to avoid any potential industrial action and subsequent disruption to learners.

“We expect management and unions to make every effort to reach a settlement that is fair and affordable.”