Friday, September 10, 1999 Published at 00:49 GMT 01:49 UK
Lecturers' pay talks to re-open
Universities could face further disruption if talks fail
Pay negotiations are to re-open in the campaign by university lecturers for substantially higher salaries.
After a one-day strike last term and the threat of an escalation of industrial action, the Association of University Teachers and employers' representatives are to meet for pay talks next week.
Negotiations were broken off last April with lecturers rejecting an offer of 3.5% from universities and calling for a 10% pay rise as a first step towards catching up on other professions.
There are also concerns over "casualisation" with claims of an increasing number of university staff on fixed-term contracts. The union says that more than three-quarters of new employees are on non-permanent contracts.
The union, which represents 42,000 lecturers and other university staff, staged boycotts of admissions procedures for a number of days over the summer as part of its pay campaign.
If there is no settlement in the pay dispute, the AUT has threatened that "tough industrial action would blight higher education" in the forthcoming academic year.
University employers have argued that their budgets do not allow for any pay rise above their 3.5% offer.