Professors and support staff at the main campus of Guyana's biggest university have launched a strike to press for higher pay and better working conditions.

The strike by hundreds of union employees at the University of Guyana was launched Monday after negotiations with administrators collapsed. Staffers at the government-run university are demanding a 60 percent increase in pay. Staff association spokeswoman Melissa Ifill says the administration is offering a 5 percent salary boost.

The start of the new semester in 2015 already had been delayed by various demonstrations at the main campus, which has more than 5,000 undergraduates and about 1,500 graduate students.

Guyana's professors and support staff are the lowest paid among colleagues in the Caribbean Community grouping of more than a dozen nations.