Lecturing staff at Scotland’s Rural University College (SRUC) are undertaking industrial action in a long-running dispute over pay and grading.
Staff at the Scottish agri-college are taking their first day of strike on Thursday (30 September), with further strike days planned together with a programme of action.
EIS, Scotland's largest teaching union, said pay for lecturers at SRUC had "fallen significantly behind the norms across both the further and higher education sectors".
The pay offer made to lecturers was also "completely inadequate", the union added.
EIS general secretary Larry Flanagan said: “It is time for management at SRUC to stop dragging their feet and commit to paying their lecturers fairly for the vital work that they do.
"Lecturers at SRUC are not taking strike action lightly, and have displayed great patience while awaiting a fair pay agreement.
"After many years of dither and delay, SRUC management have – at the eleventh hour – finally come back with an offer to take forward a pay and grading review by autumn 2023."
But Mr Flanagan said the offer from SRUC was 'far too little and far too late'.
"It is clearly a belated attempt to head off strike action but comes with so many missing elements and unknowns for members that it is essentially meaningless.”
A recent EIS statutory ballot provided a legal mandate for a move to industrial action, including strike action.
Support for industrial action short of strike was extremely strong (93%) and support for strike action was also very strong (86%).
Turnout in the ballot was 65%, above the legal minimum turnout set by the UK government’s trade union law restrictions.
A spokesperson for SRUC said the college had made a 'significant offer' to its trade union partners on a pay increase for all employees for 2021/2022.
“We are fully committed to a review of pay and grading, which has already started," the spokesperson added.
“We have always engaged openly and fairly with our trade unions partners and our doors remain open.
"We look forward to working with them to discuss what’s best for employees, students, and the future of SRUC.”