The Educational Institute of Scotland is to pursue unfair dismissal claims on behalf of three academics made compulsorily redundant at Jewel and Esk Valley College.
The union says it does not accept that compulsory job losses were necessary, and will continue to support the three staff. It had previously promised financial support if the branch voted for strike action, but last week only 20 members on a 45 per cent poll voted for action, while 33 voted against.
The college, which has a budget shortfall of Pounds 650,000 in the current financial year, has axed 20 lecturing and 20 support staff posts, only 30 of which are voluntary.
Jack Dale, EIS further and higher education secretary, said the EIS never entered lightly into a ballot on industrial action.
"We are always disappointed when a vote is lost. This is especially disappointing for the lecturers who have been made redundant," he said.
"I am sure that the very low poll reflects the extent to which members in the college feel vulnerable in the face of a management, backed by legislation which has stripped employees of their protection rights, which refused to negotiate with branch leaders."
But John Sellars of the Association of Scottish Colleges said the ballot result showed that common-sense had prevailed.
"It provides a real opportunity for the college management and its staff to move forward together, on a partnership basis, within an atmosphere of mutual trust for the benefit of its students and staff."