From Shetland to the Borders, Scottish Further Education lecturers in the EIS union are in dispute.
Some college managements are replacing them with instructors who do the same job on inferior terms.
Lengthy national negotiations have now produced a joint statement which is seen as an important step forward.
For the first time it identifies clearly what the lecturer role is. It recognises that teaching in Scotland’s colleges is carried out only by lecturers.
To allow ratification by both sides, a first strike day planned for this week was suspended.
However, arrangements for implementation are yet to be formulated. So strikes will commence on 25 March if this is not sorted out.
Meanwhile at Forth Valley College, where fire and re-hire was used to drive lecturers on to instructor contracts, strikes began this week.
The progress made so far in the dispute has depended on solidarity and militancy.
Management refused even to talk until an indicative ballot showed a huge majority for action, on a large turnout.
A statutory ballot with 90 percent for walkouts followed.
The joint statement was only agreed when it was hours away from the first strike going ahead.