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Telford College in staff deal

Edinburgh's Telford College has suffered an embarrassing defeat in its attempt to employ a private agency to recruit its temporary staff.

The move had sparked two-day weekly strikes since the end of last month.

Now a draft agreement has been reached between the Further Education Lecturers' Association and college management. It will be put to a ballot of the union's 239 members at Telford, and strike action is to be suspended.

If the deal gets the lecturers' backing, the college will have to negotiate out of its contract with Protocol National and re-establish its own pool of temporary staff. This leaves Aberdeen College as the only one in Scotland to work with the company, which is involved with some 200 colleges in England.

Details of the agreement have not been made public officially, but it is understood both sides accept there is an imbalance in some cases between part-time, full-time and temporary lecturers. Some lecturers worked excessive overtime to cover classes.

Telford will have to increase the proportion of full-time permanent lecturers. It will also have to establish a pool of temporary lecturers, disclosure-checked and ready to be called on when required, which will cost pound;120,000 a year. The deal applies to day-to-day teaching. Protocol National could still be used to staff the activities of the college's commercial arm, Telford Training and Consultancy Services.

Both sides hope students will be able to return to full timetables from next Monday.

- Aberdeen College has become an associate college of The Robert Gordon University, it has been announced. Each will retain its autonomy in a development said to be the first of its kind in Scotland. The aim behind the move, according to the institutions, is to improve students' employability through upgrading their qualifications.

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