The funding of colleges, redundancies of staff and the pay of staff are the other key issues which have affected the FE sector all year and will loom large at conference.
Most of the action has taken place in London. Hammersmith and West London are balloting between 19 and 30 May on strike action. Lambeth got authorisation for strike action on 15 May and is protesting against redundancies. Lewisham has a contracts dispute.
South Thames had a ballot in February with a positive vote for strike action. A large number of days have been taken because of the threats of compulsory redundancy. In Southwark there is indefinite strike action and students taking exams are in the position of having coursework not marked or entered for assessment. At the City and Islington College there is a ballot as a result of disputes over compulsory redundancy.
Most disputes have centred on London. Outside the capital, there has been a contracts dispute in West Cheshire since February. In West Cumbria there has been a small number of one-day strikes. In Wakefield there is a continuing dispute with around 50 colleagues under the threat of redundancy.
About 300 delegates are expected to attend this weekend's conference. For the first time there will be an FE sector conference and a higher education sector conference.
There will be calls to restore quality in post-school education and to address chronic under-funding in further and higher education. College redundancies figure highly, as does restoration of college and university democracy through reforms to institutional governance.
A number of motions address the issue of a NATFHEAUT confederation. Yorkshire and Humberside region says a merger is needed now, more than ever before. It calls for an approach to AUT for a full merger, without preconditions. The Southern region likes the merger but is against the phrase "without preconditions".