Strike action to hit Scottish universities

University of Edinburgh. Picture: Ian Georgeson
University of Edinburgh. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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Staff at nine Scottish universities will carry out fourteen days of strikes in February and March in a dispute over pay and pensions.

The Universities and College Union (UCU) announced the action in a letter to universities which will start with a five day walkout over a weekend in February.

That will be followed by an escalating wave of strikes leading up to a full working week being disrupted by strike action.

READ MORE: Teachers threaten strike action over pay

A number of Scotland’s biggest universities will be affected, including Edinburgh University, the University of Glasgow, St Andrew’s, and Strathclyde University.

Talks between the UCU and Universities UK broke down over the body’s plans to transform the pension scheme which affects many of the UCU’s members.

Universities UK plans to end the defined benefit element of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) pension scheme. UCU says this would leave a typical lecturer almost £10,000 a year worse off in retirement than under the current set-up.

READ MORE: Teachers could strike over pay

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: ‘Staff who have delivered the international excellence principals use to justify their own lavish pay and perks are understandably angry at efforts to slash their pensions. They feel let down by leaders who seem to care more about defending their own perks than the rights of their staff.

‘Strike action on this scale has not been seen before on Scottish or 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.’