We, the Executive of Blackburn College Natfhe Branch, would like to correct a misleading impression caused by Roger Ward (THES, September 1). Last September many FE colleges throughout the country were about to take strike action over the contracts issue when the Colleges and Employers' Forum suddenly proposed talks.
Natfhe HQ agreed and then sent instructions to all branches not to strike. Talks soon broke down when the CEF proposed an annual teaching load of around 1,000 hours, a figure that Natfhe could not possibly agree to. The delay in strike action helped college managements to get through the important enrolment period with minimal disruption. Only by the CEF acting in bad faith was disruption to colleges avoided. Now we are entering another academic year of contract and pay dispute. It is time Roger Ward and the CEF got into the "real world" and started to negotiate within a realistic and sensible framework.
The Executive, Natfhe Blackburn College Branch