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Last Updated: Friday, 16 June 2006, 11:07 GMT 12:07 UK
University pay ballot takes weeks
student taking exam
Students' exams are now being marked
The outcome of a ballot on a university pay deal is unlikely to be known for at least another month.

Although national negotiators agreed a rise of 13.1% over three years on Tuesday of last week, ballot papers will not go to members until next week.

These will say the University and College Union negotiators think it is the best they can get - but without a recommendation that it be accepted.

And a survey suggests the deal might be rejected, with 47% of members against.

A poll of academic staff by ICM for the Times Higher Education Supplement found only 42% would accept the offer.

Choice

A spokesman for the union said the ballot wording would be:

"You are being asked to vote on the revised pay offer made to UCU by the employers' body UCEA.

"The Transitional Arrangements Committee [TAC, the interim decision making body of UCU] endorses the negotiators' view that this is the best national offer that can be achieved by negotiation, and therefore puts it before you for decision.

"The choice before you is to accept the offer or to reject and to resume serious industrial action."

In the ICM poll, 81% of respondents backed the original claim for a rise of about 23% and 57% favoured an exams and assessment boycott to pursue this.

The boycott which UCU members had been observing since March was beginning to have an impact on thousands of students.

But it was suspended when the union's leaders agreed the pay deal.

The ballot on the offer will not close until 17 July.

Resuming a boycott then would have little practical effect in the short term.

Some local UCU branches have denounced the deal and called for their leaders to resign.




BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
UCU joint president Steve Wharton explains the pay deal



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