The six higher education unions which have been locked in industrial action since last December with the management of the newer universities across the UK have called a halt for talks. The unions, including the EIS's University Lecturers' Association, represent 100,000 academic and support staff.
They voted by 70-80 per cent to take action in the dispute which covers pay, workload and working conditions. The unions were particularly angered by the university management's rejection of the indepndent Bett report on pay and staffing, which the employers themselves had set up.
Both sides have now agreed to a deadline of the end of March to come up with proposals for new national bargaining machinery for the sector, recommendations to resolve the current dispute and a suggested approach to pay for 2001-02.
The unions agreed to suspend their action as of yesterday and the university authorities said they would reimburse pay deducted from those union members who took part.