Members of the College Lecturers' Association staged an unofficial walk-out last week but have now agreed to seek permission to hold a ballot for official industrial action from the association's parent body, the Educational Institute of Scotland.
A meeting of the CLA branch on Tuesday passed a unanimous vote of no confidence in the management, although it appears to acknowledge that the pressure on college funds has come from the Scottish Further Education Funding Council.
The management's response is to seek redundancies among lecturers to save pound;500,000 to pound;600,000, which the union says is the equivalent of 24 academic staff. Support staff jobs will also have to go.
The CLA branch will now press he college to give a commitment to avoiding compulsory redundancies. If this is not forthcoming, Gordon Plews, the branch secretary, says it is confident the national leadership will sanction industrial action.
Ray Harris, Stevenson's principal, would not rule out compulsory job losses, saying only that he hoped redeployment and voluntary redundancy among lecturers and technicians "would reduce the need for compulsory redundancies to an absolute minimum."
Mr Plews says the problem has arisen because the college has enjoyed phenomenal growth of 10 per cent in student activity in the past year, but has been told it will not be funded to grow any further.
* Jewel and Esk Valley College this week announced the death of John Lisgo, its principal, after a long illness. Mr Lisgo, who was 61, headed the college for the past 15 years.