University lecturers are to be balloted by Scotland’s largest teaching union on industrial action in a row over pay.
The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) ballot will be the second such vote in less than 12 months.
It follows strike action by members of the University and College Union in November, which ended after university bosses agreed to look at the gender pay gap and lecturers’ workload.
The latest ballot is due to run until the end of January
The EIS said university lecturers’ pay had been cut in real terms by more than 20% over the past decade.
Despite showing 88% support for industrial action in last year’s EIS ballot a shortage of members taking part in the vote meant the result fell short of the legal mandate required for action.
EIS general secretary Larry Flanagan said he feared attacks on workers’ rights in future as a result of the Conservatives winning a sizeable majority at Westminster.
He added: “Workload is increasing across the sector, placing ever greater strain on lecturing staff who are working harder and longer for ever-decreasing pay.
“It is now time for Scotland’s higher education lecturers to take a stand and demand the fair pay deal that is due to them.”
However, Scotland’s Higher Education Minister Richard Lochhead said industrial action was not in anyone’s interest.
“Universities are autonomous institutions and matters relating to pay and working conditions and pensions are for them to determine,” he said.
“Industrial action is in no-one’s interests, especially students’, and I expect management and unions to make every effort to reach a settlement on these matters.”