University staff need a pay rise that keeps up with inflation, their representatives say.
Collective agreements expired at all eight of New Zealand's universities at similar times, and the Tertiary Education Union said it has begun negotiations at all except Canterbury.
It wants an 8 percent pay increase for its members, about 8000 people throughout the motu.
It said university staff had borne the cost of the pandemic, and it wanted to make sure its members could afford to pay their bills.
Union national secretary Sandra Grey said universities could afford the pay rise.
Research commissioned by the union and carried out by Business and Economic Research Ltd showed universities' spending on staff had not increased as much as their spending on other things, she said.
"We're looking for an 8 percent increase, which is a little over what CPI is."
(The Consumer Price Index measures inflation as experienced by New Zealand households.)
"The cost of living's going up," Grey said. "As everybody knows when they go to the supermarket or they go to fill their car up, they know it's getting getting dearer and dearer - and we're just trying to make sure that our members can pay their bills".