STUDENT leaders are urging Dunfermline's MSP to intervene and help prevent strikes by college lecturers from disrupting exams.

NUS Scotland president Matt Crilly has written to Shirley-Anne Somerville, who is also education secretary, and warned of a "perfect storm" facing learners due to Government cuts, industrial action and the cost-of-living crisis.

Fife College is one of many colleges across Scotland that is set to be affected by fresh strikes over pay.

Mr Crilly, whose letter to Ms Somerville and finance secretary Kate Forbes was co-signed by student association presidents across the country, said: “There is no doubt that college students in Scotland face a perfect storm of cuts, strikes and cost-of-living rises that are having an impact on the learning and welfare of students.

“Scottish Government cuts to college budgets are putting vital student services and effective local student representation at risk on several campuses.

"The Government has also failed to adequately support students through the cost-of-living crisis and many students face yet another summer without financial support.

“College staff should also not bear the brunt of the cost-of-living crisis – the Government must act to ensure fair pay and prevent further disruption for students."

The EIS Further Education Lecturers’ Association (EIS-FELA) have agreed a revised pattern of strike days following what they said was a “refusal” by college employers to join new talks earlier than Thursday.

It means there will be one day of action this week and in the weeks beginning May 15 and 22, rising to two days a week in the weeks beginning May 29 and June 5.

Walk-outs by lecturers on three days a week are planned from June 12 until the end of the academic year.

Action short of strike, such as refusing to cover for absent colleagues, undertaking no voluntary activities and a marking and assessment boycott, will also take place.

Lecturers believe the pay offer doesn't reflect the high quality of work they maintained during the pandemic or recognise the levels of stress and workload they face.

However, vice-principal at Fife College, Iain Hawker, said the strike action was "unnecessary" and that lecturers had already been offered a pay rise "well above" what is being given to other professionals.

He added: “I would urge those lecturers who are considering taking strike action to put their students first.”

Last week, college chiefs offered a pay rise that comprises consolidated and unconsolidated elements of £900 and £150 respectively.

However, this remains below the EIS-FELA's amended demand for a £1,200 flat-rate award.

College Employers Scotland maintain that the union’s proposition is not affordable.

They've already pointed out that the sector faces a £5.7 million deficit this academic year and is braced for an upcoming budget cut of £52m.

However, union leaders highlighted how Scottish principals had enjoyed remuneration increases "far in excess" of those offered to teaching staff.

The Scottish Government said the 2022-23 budget would provide more than £1.9 billion for Scotland’s universities and colleges.

A spokesperson added: “We understand this is a tough time for many students and, since June 2021, we have provided more than £37m in hardship funding to colleges and universities."

College and university principals have been asked to allocate the funds "to those students most in need" and to take account of the impact of the rising cost of living.

She said: "We continue to work closely with NUS and stakeholders on reviewing the support available to students over the summer.”

There is advice on the Fife College website – – for students who may be impacted by strike action.