Strike action by college staff has been called off after their union received a new pay offer from employers.  

Librarians, IT specialists, administrators, cleaners, and other support workers were due to walk out on Monday next week in protest over pay and conditions.  

But the union Unison, which represents the majority of workers in these roles, has now said the industrial action is off while it consults with members. 

The strike is part of a long-running dispute between support staff and College Employers Scotland over the terms of a pay deal and guarantees of no compulsory redundancies  

The Herald exclusively revealed on Wednesday that a new offer was to be made to staff’s representatives at the  Unison, Unite and GMB unions.  

READ MORE: New pay offer expected for college support staff this week

Unite and GMB have previously voted to accept an earlier offer of £5,000 over three years. 

No new offer is expected for lecturing staff represented by EIS-FELA, who are also in dispute with employers.

The Herald: Unison has by far the largest number of members among support staff Unison has by far the largest number of members among support staff (Image: NQ)

Unison has by far the largest membership of the three unions and carries three votes in negotiations, compared to one each for GMB and Unite.

This breakdown means that there will be no agreed deal for support staff until Unison's roughly 2,500 members approve an offer. 

Support staff represent roughly half of the college workforce, and jobs range from classroom support to IT staff to building management.  

Unison most recently voted in favour of strike action in 2023, with a mandate that runs through the end of May. 

The union has now confirmed its will ask its members to stand down while it ballots them over accepting the offer.  

READ MORE: The State of Scotland's Colleges - Find all articles in the series here

UNISON Scotland lead for further education, Janet Stewart said: “UNISON has suspended all further strikes while we ballot our members on this latest offer.

“Ballot emails will be out in the next few days. College support staff are the librarians, IT specialists, administrators, cleaners, and canteen workers who run vital student services. And they have been waiting 18 months for a pay rise.

“They were simply looking for a guarantee that any pay rises wouldn’t come with the threat of compulsory redundancies.

Ms Wilson added: “We all know how important it is for students’ studies not to be disrupted, which is why we are taking this offer seriously.

“UNISON is committed to reaching a resolution to this long running dispute and staff getting back to do what they love, supporting students in the learning”.

The industrial disputes are set against the backdrop of serious financial concerns across the college sector.

The Herald's recent spotlight series on the state of Scotland's colleges revealed that the sector is facing a £500 million funding gap over the past three years. 

Employers and trade unions have called on the Scottish Government to address "chronic underfunding" of the sector.