NATFHE members will be faced with conflicting advice when they vote on a 3.3 per cent pay offer, following a recommendation from the conference that they reject the offer and vote for strike action.
The national executive says that the offer from the Association of Colleges, while inadequate, is "the best that can be achieved by negotiation alone". The executive offered two alternatives: accept, and try to ensure that the offer is implemented in all colleges; or adopt "an alternatie strategy of rejection and the pursuit of industrial action".
Andrew Price, from the Welsh branch, pointed out that the original offer of 3 per cent had been called "insulting".
"How can a 3 per cent offer be insulting but 3.3 per cent be acceptable?"
General secretary Paul Mackney told delegates that when the association consulted its colleges, it was told to offer 2.7 per cent.
The pay deal would not bind colleges to pay it, but "if they say they can't pay, we'll say: open the books. And if they have real reasons, we can go to David Blunkett and say: give them the money".