Lecturers' unions and employers look set to greet the incoming government with a joint lobby for better pay in further education, writes Tony Tysome.
The Association of Colleges reiterated its call for the unions to work with it to build a case to take to the next comprehensive spending review. The AoC and unions want lecturers' pay to be raised to the level of school teachers.
In response, lecturers' union Natfhe, which is threatening to escalate industrial action following its members' one-day strike last month, said a joint lobby was an attractive option.
But Natfhe said it wanted to act well before the CSR and was planning to petition its members for a lobby and national demonstration in early July.
Calls from Natfhe's members for more industrial action to back the union's claim for an immediate £3,000 flat-rate pay rise may still stand in the way of joint action with employers.
Sue Berryman, Natfhe's further education chief, said: "There is definitely some prospect of a joint lobby, since we obviously want to take this issue up with the new government.
But she added: "It will be difficult to move forward unless the employers are prepared to offer more than 3 per cent, and from what we have heard of the money they are able to offer, that seems unlikely."
Ivor Jones, the employers' secretary for the National Joint Forum, said: "I believe a joint lobby is the only way we will be able to achieve what we all want.
"Not only is funding inadequate, but part of that money is tied up in initiatives, which means our unit of resources remains low, which means it's difficult for many colleges to do anything about pay."
The forum is due to meet on June 26.