Colleges could face another round of national strikes after lecturers were offered an "insulting" 1.5 per cent pay rise.
Lecturers' unions were demanding pay rises of 7 per cent and the full implementation of previous pay agreements to end the threat of strikes as pay talks with the Association of Colleges began on Tuesday.
The offer was unanimously rejected by the six unions representing college staff and pay talks will resume on May 10.
Barry Lovejoy, head of colleges at lecturers' union Natfhe, said: "We called it derisory and a slap in the face for college staff. It looks increasingly likely that there will be strike action before May 10.
"The persistent unfair pay gap is demoralising for our members in colleges and must deter a lot of young teachers from entering further education."
Thousands of lecturers from 220 colleges took part in a one-day strike in November, after Natfhe rejected last year's 2.8 per cent pay rise.