College staff have voted in favour of industrial action over changes to college lecturer roles.

An Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) ballot, which closed today, resulted in 87 per cent of participating members at West Lothian College voting for action short of strike, with a turnout of 67%.

The EIS says attempts to introduce instructors/assessors instead of college lecturers will worsen staff conditions and undermine professionalism.

According to the union, the new roles are lower paid, with more class contact hours, less time for preparation and reduced annual leave.

It has also warned that the move will impact the quality of education on offer to students as the new roles do not require a teaching qualification or General Teaching Council for Scotland recognition. 

A West Lothian Branch Rep said: “We are furious that the college is trying to push forward with changes without proper process and against the better judgement of staff during a global pandemic.

"Following months of discussions and various routes for resolution, it seems our views are irrelevant. Whilst the EIS were happy to negotiate, the college has introduced the role of instructor come what may.

“The ballot result shows that we are more than prepared to take action to defend our livelihoods and our students’ right to quality education.”

EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan added: “It’s clear that these changes are about cutting costs – no matter the impact on the quality of education. This is an attack on the professional role of lecturers in further education.

“The ballot result is a clear mandate for industrial action. It’s not too late for the college to avoid action, but they need to act now and reinstate lecturers’ posts.”

West Lothian College has been approached for comment.