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Employers have made an improved pay offer as strike action looms in the UK university sector, but unions said it did not go far enough.

The Universities and Colleges Employers Association (Ucea) upped its previous offer of between 4 and 7 per cent to between 5 and 8 per cent, with the highest rises for those on the lowest pay bands.

It was revealed at the last scheduled meeting of the pay negotiations for 2023-24, one of the last chances to avert 18 days of strike action planned for February and March.

Ucea said the offer represented the “highest uplift in nearly 20 years” and “recognises the current cost pressures faced by both employees and employers”.

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