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University strikes breakthrough as bosses and lecturers agree to sit down for pay talks


University chiefs have agreed to open pay discussions with striking university staff in the wake of new threats of a marking boycott.

In a joint statement from the Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) and the University and College Union (UCU), it has been announced that talks will take place before the 2014/15 bargaining round.

“UCEA and UCU have agreed to investigate with the other parties... the prospect of arranging exploratory talks, prior to the first scheduled negotiating meeting of the 2014-15 pay negotiations. The purpose of the exploratory talks would be to seek an early positive dialogue on the key issues in the lead up to the 2014/15 pay round.”

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: “It is in everyone’s interests that this dispute is resolved and we will approach any talks positively.”

The National Union of Students (NUS) has meanwhile come out in support of their striking lecturers, after it submitted a motion stating its support for the UCU’s action in response to the "belligerence demonstrated by university management and UCEA in the dispute so far," emphasising that ensuring student satisfaction is their definitive role.

News that the two parties concerned have agreed to talks will be reassuring for students, who are still uncertain as to how their university futures will be affected if the disputes are to continue.