Queen's University Belfast strikes

Queen’s lecturers will strike for 18 days in next two months in largest ever uni strikes

The strike action makes up 40 per cent of teaching time in February and March

Belfast students are set to miss more than 40 per cent of teaching in February and March as the University and College Union (UCU) has announced 18 days of strike action in the next two months.

Set to be the largest ever strike across the UK, Queen’s University Belfast staff will be joined by more than 70,000 colleagues across 150 different universities taking part in the “unprecedented programme of escalating strike action”.

UCU members are fighting over pay, working conditions and “attacks on pensions”.

On Wednesday night, the union was offered a pay rise, which it described as “worth between 4 and 5 per cent”. However, the union described the offer as “not enough”.

The UCU describe cuts made last year to staff pensions as a 35 per cent loss to their members’ guaranteed future retirement income.

Announcing the strike last night, UCU general secretary, Jo Grady said the “clock was ticking” for university bosses to avoid further disruption.

“‘University staff dedicate their lives to education and they want to get back to work, but that will only happen if university vice-chancellors use the vast wealth of the sector to address over a decade of falling pay, rampant insecure employment practices and devastating pension cuts. The choice is theirs,” she said.

A Tab investigation last summer found Russell Group unis saved £11million in withheld pay whilst lecturers were on strike last university year.

The strike dates, which will take place before Easter, are to be confirmed next week. The UCU warned however, further disruption could be ahead with the possibility of a marking boycott from April.

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