About 300 union members at Auckland University are refusing to hand in research portfolios in an escalating dispute over employment conditions.
The Tertiary Education Union says the university has offered staff a pay rise of 4%, but, in return, has demanded they give up certain conditions, such as study leave entitlements.
The research portfolios are one of the ways the university receives funding and the union says they are worth millions of dollars.
Union secretary Sharn Rigg says the conditions are a vital part of the contract and Auckland University is trying to take them out without negotiating first.
The university says staff would be able to keep the conditions; they would just become policy rather than part of employment contracts.