Teachers leaders have called on Scottish government to intervene in dispute affecting seven prisons north of the border


Teachers at seven prisons in Scotland are to strike in a dispute which they say threatens to “dumb down” vital rehabilitation work and create a postcode lottery for prisoners’ education.

Their employer, Carnegie College, operates education programmes at seven prisons in central and eastern Scotland. The EIS union says the college wants to reduce the number of qualified lecturers working with prisoners. It believes the proposals will damage the education and rehabilitation of prisoners if they go ahead.

Lecturers will stage an initial strike day tomorrow, 8th of December, in protest at the plans, with further strike days to be named if there is no resolution to the dispute.

EIS general secretary Ronnie Smith said: “This is purely a cost-cutting move. The other college contracted to supply prison education in the West of Scotland continues to employ fully qualified lecturing staff.”

Official prison inspectors say high quality education programmes – particularly aimed at improving literacy skills – are vital to help offenders find work on release. Research shows that stable employment can cut the risk of their re-offending by between a third and a half.

The union has written to the Scottish Government Justice Secretary warning that many of the prison lecturers employed by Carnegie are currently facing the threat of compulsory redundancy if they refuse to accept lower pay rates and inferior conditions.

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