Natfhe, the university and college lecturers' union, is to shift all its further education resources into fighting local disputes, including those over pay, because of the stalemate in national negotiations.
The decision to switch emphasis follows surveys revealing local and regional success in agreeing local employment contract deals and a lack of enthusiasm for any national action on pay.
The survey on contracts, which covered some l09 colleges, roughly a third of all institutions, shows that more than 47 per cent of lecturers and senior lecturers are now on Natfhe-agreed deals. Twenty-five per cent are still on the old silver book terms and 28 per cent on College Employers Forum contracts.
Another survey shows that only 70 of all branches of Natfhe were in favour of nationally coordinated action on pay.
Sue Berryman, Natfhe's chief negotiator for FE, said the union had not abandoned its commitment to national bargaining on pay and conditions of service.