England, Wales and Scotland section of International Socialist Alternative

City of Glasgow College: Staff strike back against cuts

By a COGC student

At the beginning of 2023, the City of Glasgow College (COGC) management dropped a bombshell on their staff and students. In a unilateral move, without consulting staff or their union, the management declared a series of measures that drastically altered the academic landscape: voluntary severance, staff cuts, a reshuffled academic timetable (which cut contact time for students) and the introduction of ‘blended learning’, meaning less face-to-face interaction and more Zoom lectures.

Fat-cat management

The principal, Paul Little, justified these actions as a “necessary response to financial pressures”, following a £46 million cut in funding to further education across Scotland by the SNP government. Yet it is hard to reconcile this narrative with Little’s salary of £170,000, and total remuneration package of £215,000. Mr. Little’s international business trips cost the college an additional £27,000. Moreover, the budget cuts set by the Westminster Tories, and dutifully carried out by SNP ministers, were specifically not for teaching services.

The repercussions of these decisions were severe enough: up to 70 lecturers faced job losses, threatening their livelihoods and adding pressure on remaining staff. Timetable changes, scheduled breaks during lecture times, and unpaid work further undermine the hard work that lecturers put into supporting students.

Management intransigence

In February, the COGC branch of the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) took a stand, meeting with management to voice opposition to the cuts. Unfortunately, this initiative met with an iron wall, and management announced 100 more staff cuts! Courses being cut and private agencies replacing permanent staff by stealth is a very real threat. One striking lecturer called their action a “battle against privatisation.”

College staff fight back

Lecturers responded with industrial action. Initially, removing online class materials and withholding grades. When management continued to disregard their voices, all-out strike action began on 30 May. Pickets are held each morning outside the college from 8am-10am. Students and workers are urged to attend to show solidarity as well as participating in demonstrations and leafleting.

UNISON members are balloting for action at the college too, in the face of proposed layoffs of up to 25 support staff.

Students’ support is vital

Whilst this action disrupts our studies in the immediate term, it’s crucial to understand that this struggle is in our interests in the long term. An educational institution, like our college, is only as strong as its staff. Cuts and reduction in face-to-face teaching time are a direct blow to the quality of our education. By standing with our lecturers, we are not merely showing solidarity. We are defending our education from privatisation – a fight that must be turned into a broader struggle to kick out all the profiteers, reverse SNP cuts and demand the funding needed for a free, high-quality education system, run democratically in the interests of both workers and students.


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