General Election fever is high in Glasgow just now, but there is something else happening in our city that could change the future of hundreds of our young people and students.

Our colleges are on strike and are a glaring testament to the SNP government’s shameful neglect of further education.

Lecturers, the backbone of our educational institutions, have been forced onto the picket lines in an ongoing battle for fair pay and better working conditions. This crisis, rooted in financial mismanagement and austerity-driven policies, demands urgent government intervention.

The Educational Institute of Scotland Further Education Lecturers’ Association (EIS-FELA) has been leading these strikes since February, driven by inadequate pay offers and severe cuts to college funding.

The offer on the table – a meagre £5000 pay rise over three years – fails to match the pay uplifts seen in other public sectors such as the NHS and school teachers.

This is an insult to our lecturers, who deserve equitable treatment and respect.

Beyond the paltry pay rise, the crisis deepens with the drastic cuts to educational provisions. City of Glasgow College, like many others, faces an unsustainable financial landscape marked by real-terms budget cuts, rising operational costs, and an overall deficit of £6 million. These cuts have resulted in increased workloads, reduced face-to-face teaching time, and alarming rounds of redundancies.

How can we expect our students to thrive when their learning environment is being systematically dismantled?

Lecturers are not just fighting for fair pay; they are battling to preserve the integrity of our education system. The cuts to learning support, the reduction in student-teacher contact time, and the overall erosion of educational quality are setting up our students for failure.

The government’s role in this debacle cannot be overstated. The clawback of £26m from the college sector, coupled with flat cash settlements that fail to account for inflation, has left colleges in an untenable position. This financial straitjacket imposed by the government is squeezing the life out of our educational institutions.

It is high time for the SNP Scottish Government to step up and address this crisis head-on.

The callous disregard for the plight of lecturers and students alike is not just a political misstep; it is a moral failing. The government must prioritise funding for further education, ensuring that colleges can operate without the constant threat of cuts and redundancies. Investing in education is investing in the future of Scotland.

Our students deserve better, our lecturers deserve better and Scotland deserves better.

The continuing strikes are a wake-up call. Enough is enough. It’s time for the government to put its money where its mouth is and support Glasgow’s colleges before it’s too late.

Of course, it is my hope that on July 4 we will see the start of change so that the failing government is finally booted out and that we see prosperity and change in our country. I want to wish all the best to every Labour candidate up and down the country and especially our six fantastic Glasgow ones.

Change is coming, for our colleges, our kids and everyone one of us on July 4.