Exact plans for four weeks of staff strikes at Newcastle University released

Staff will not be taking lectures, seminars or responding to emails during strikes

The staff of Newcastle University will be involved in major pension strikes, happening in universities across the UK, starting on 22nd February.

The UCU (University College Union) opposed these changes to staff pensions and issued a ballot to universities.

The ballot report shows that, of the 60.2 per cent of all Newcastle University staff members who voted, 90 per cent said yes to the strike.

The strikes will span fourteen days, lasting for four weeks.

The dates that will be affecting Newcastle are as follows:

– Week one: Thursday 22nd and Friday 23rd February (two days)

– Week two: Monday 26th, Tuesday 27th and Wednesday 28th February (three days)

– Week three: Monday 5th, Tuesday 6th, Wednesday 7th and Thursday 8th March (four days)

– Week four: Monday 12th, Tuesday 13th, Wednesday 14th, Thursday 15th and Friday 16th March (five days).

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The UCU statement said: "During these times, staff members will not be answering emails, taking lectures or seminars or marking any work".

The Union’s general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: “Strike action on this scale has not been seen before on UK campuses, but universities need to know the full scale of the disruption they will be hit with if they refuse to sort this mess out.”

Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Chris Day said:

“I do recognise that staff and students are understandably concerned about the proposed changes to the USS pension scheme and also the potential impact that any strike action might have.

“At the moment, we don’t know how many of our staff will take strike action so it is difficult to gauge what that impact will be. While we appreciate the strength of feeling in relation to the pension changes that has led to this, we need to minimise disruption for our students and will remain open throughout the strike days.

“The decision to take industrial action is a national issue which cannot be resolved locally by the University. However, we are working closely with the UCU both locally and nationally and will continue to do so.”

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