Teaching and support staff have taken to the picket lines to defend “the future of college education in Scotland”.
EIS lecturers along with members of Unison protested outside Moray College in Elgin on Wednesday.
As well as concerns over a pay offer linked to compulsory redundancies, strikers are worried about the underfunding of colleges across the country.
Protesters feel the further education sector is being hit hard with courses being cut, with the impact on college students greater than those in higher education.
Unison national branch secretary Chris Greenshields said College Employers Scotland had been wasted time with no meaningful negotiations.
Discussions usually take place in September last year, but nothing came forward until May.
And the pay deal was conditional on accepting compulsory redundancies.
Mr Greenshields said: “That’s not an offer, it’s a threat. It’s an unacceptable threat.
“We’re looking for a fair pay offer, but that can’t be linked to compulsory redundancies.”
He criticised education ministers and the First Minister for not doing anything to help the situation.
Mr Greenshields said: “Graeme Dey, Jenny Gilruth and Humza Yousaf have been sitting on their hands.”
And he condemned college leaders for giving themselves “huge” pay rises while expanding their management teams.
EIS branch secretary for Moray College UHI Catriona McBain laid blame with the Scottish Government.
Underfunding of colleges across Scotland
She said: “All colleges went to the Scottish parliament to protest to against what is the destruction of further education in this country.
“Audit Scotland spoke out to say that cuts have caused an 8.5% reduction in funding going to Scottish colleges, which is unsustainable.
“We were offered 3.3% for this year and 4.5% for last year – that’s below the public sector average.
“And that’s on the basis we’re expected to accept 400 compulsory redundancies.
“This is not purely about pay, but the future of college education in Scotland.
“And it’s an attack on working class education.”
Previously Gavin Donoghue, director of College Employers Scotland, said they had provided a “full and final” pay offer to the unions.
He added it would provide an average pay rise of 8% for lecturers and an average of 11%, for support staff
For support staff earning less than £25,000, the average increase would be over 14%.
For lecturers at the start of the pay scale, the increase would be around 10% to an initial salary of almost £39,000 a year.
Further strikes are expected in the coming weeks.
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