Over 120 UCU union delegates from higher education institutions around Britain met on Wednesday of last week to discuss a pay claim for 2013-14.
Delegates voted unanimously for a joint union claim that would include a rise at the RPI rate of inflation plus an element of catch up.
Lecturers have had a real terms pay cut of around 2 percent for the last four years.
The general mood was serious and positive. The merchants of gloom and doom from last year had less to say this time and they lost every contested vote.
The conference was more divided over the tactics to follow in pursuit of the claim.
Some people argued that we should only take industrial action with other unions. Everyone agreed that it was desirable to take joint action where possible but that we should not make this a pre-condition for taking action.
This point of view won the day by a significant majority. There was a consensus that we should first take action short of strikes, in particular working to contract over workload issues.
We would have the option of strikes if the employers escalate by disciplining members for working to contract.