STRIKE action by college lectures has been suspended after talks with management reached agreement in a long-running dispute over pay and conditions.

It brings to an end the most serious strike in Scottish education since the long-running teachers' dispute in the 1980s.

The deal, which the union says ends pay and conditions disparities, means that a three-day strike set for next week will now not go ahead.

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The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) said it was a "significant victory" for its members as Colleges Scotland had agreed to "honour the deal" made in March last year on pay and conditions.

Members walked out on strike several times in recent weeks as part of an escalating programme of action.

The dispute was over ways of evening out differences in pay and conditions across the country.

HeraldScotland:

Some lecturers earn several thousand pounds less than others doing similar jobs at other institutions.

An agreement after a one-day strike last year was meant to deal with this. But the EIS argues no progress has been made since then.

EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan said: "Following a further round of talks today, we have reached a position where Colleges Scotland have agreed to honour the deal.

"This is a significant victory for EIS Further Education Lecturers' Association (EIS-FELA) members and it means that the employers will move immediately to implement Phase 1 of the March 2016 pay agreement.

"EIS-FELA members are thanked for their magnificent support and solidarity throughout this campaign, which has been focused since the start on making management honour the deal.

"The members' action has secured this win, which will see equal pay delivered across the sector and create equitable common terms and conditions for the sector moving forward. This success by lecturers will also inspire other public sector workers fighting for fair pay."

Lecturers had been due to go on strike on from Tuesday May 23 to Thursday May 25.

In a joint statement, EIS and Colleges Scotland said: "Following a period of intensive negotiations, agreement has been reached between the employers and the EIS. This has led to the immediate suspension of strike action by the EIS and will enable college management to implement the March 2016 Agreement.

"After the meeting, Colleges Scotland and the EIS welcomed this breakthrough and are delighted that disruption to student learning has been brought to an end.

"Both sides expressed the hope that this would provide a sound foundation for the college sector moving forward."

A Colleges Scotland Employers' Association spokesman added: "We are pleased that we've reached an agreement, subject to ratification, which not only means an end to the strikes but also, crucially, ensures that colleges can return to business as usual.

"This is a positive step forward for everyone involved."