Northern Ireland

Queen's and Ulster universities face eight-day strike

Queen's University Belfast staff strike 22 February 2018
Image caption Academics at both institutions took part in a previous strike over pension changes in 2018

Queen's University and Ulster University face eight days of strike action from many lecturers and support staff, starting on 25 November.

The action by University and College Union (UCU) members is due to disputes over pay and pensions.

The walkout follows votes in favour of industrial action and will affect about 60 universities across the UK.

The UCU has 583 members at Ulster University (UU) and 933 members at Queen's University (QUB).

Universities UK said plans were in place to ensure disruption to students is minimal.

However, a walkout by UCU members at Queen's and Ulster universities could cause disruption to classes, lectures and other university activities.

Academics at both institutions took part in a previous strike over pension changes in 2018.

Image copyright Getty
Image caption Umbrella group Universities UK said they were hopeful the disputes could still be resolved without industrial action

Turnout in the strike ballot at both Northern Ireland universities was lower than the UK-wide turnout of 53% in the pensions ballot and 49% in the pay and conditions ballot.

However, a majority of those who voted at both universities said they were prepared to take strike action.

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said there was no doubt about the strength of feeling among members.

"The first wave of strikes will hit universities later this month unless the employers start talking to us seriously about how they are going to deal with rising pension costs and declining pay and conditions," she said.

"Any general election candidate would be over the moon with a result along the lines of what we achieved last week."

A spokesperson for umbrella group Universities UK said they were hopeful the disputes could still be resolved without industrial action, but plans were in place to prevent disruption to students and staff.

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