The eight trade unions in the university pay dispute were meeting employers yesterday observed by the conciliation service, ACAS.
University lecturers welcomed the decision to involve ACAS but warned time was running out. "We have waited too long," said David Triesman, general secretary of the Association of University Teachers. "This approach must be serious or the dispute will deepen."
The AUT, whose members have already taken part in a one-day strike over the employers' 1.5 per cent pay offer, has threatened to disrupt the university admissions process if the vice-chancellors do not offer more.