Further talks agreed in bid to resolve dispute over lecturers' pensions
Lecturers' leaders and university officials are to hold further talks in a bid to resolve a bitter dispute over pensions.
The University and College Union (UCU) said it was pleased that Universities UK (UUK) had agreed to another meeting to try to end strike action currently affecting 61 universities.
Both sides have agreed to go for further talks mediated by the conciliation service Acas.
Strike action remains on despite the agreement to keep talking.
Staff will be on strike on Wednesday and for four days from next Monday.
A wave of 14 days of strikes will end with a five-day walkout from Monday March 12-Friday March 16.
UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said: "We are pleased the employers have agreed to more talks.
"Today UCU tabled proposals which provide the basis for settling this damaging dispute. We have listened not just to our members, but also to the many university leaders who have contributed ideas.
"At the core of our proposals is for universities to accept a small amount of increased risk, but only at a level a majority have recently said they are comfortable with.
"Doing this would enable us to provide a decent, guaranteed pension at a more modest cost with smaller contribution increases.
"UCU has been impressed by the ideas of many vice-chancellors who have intervened in the dispute. Our proposals for long-term reform reflect an attempt to reach a consensus around the challenges we face."
A spokesman for Universities UK said: "Today's talks have been positive with both employers' representatives and union leaders showing a willingness to work together to address the scheme's financial challenges.
"Further talks are being arranged. In the interest of students, we have asked UCU to stop the industrial action while talks continue to find an alternative, viable and affordable solution.
"Both parties agreed to involve Acas in facilitating further talks to bridge the significant distance between both sides."