NATFHE negotiators cleared the way for pay talks with employers after members agreed to recognise a national contract for senior staff drawn up in 1994. It had already been accepted by the more moderate Association of College Management. The deal also endorses existing locally-devised contracts.
Following the agreement, set down by the Colleges' Employers' Forum as a condition of pay discussions, managers have been offered a 2.4 per cent rise for 1996-97.
The two unions were given until today to accept the offer. The ACM has already rejected the rise because it does not also widen the managerslecturer pay gap.
NATFHE also turned it down this week, though negotiators agreed to consult members. Realistically, consultations cannot be completed by today's deadline, and CEF has said it will recommend a 2.1 per cent pay increase if no negotiated settlement is reached.
Employers' leaders were also due to meet NATFHE and the Association of Teachers and Lecturers today for final talks on lecturers' pay.The CEF has pledged to recommend a 2.1 per cent lecturers' pay rise to colleges if no deal is struck today.