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University campaigners slam 'derisory' offer

The picket outside the University of Cumbria. Credit: ITV Border

University staff in Cumbria and the South of Scotland have begun a two-day strike, in a dispute over pay and conditions.

Members of the University and College Union are walking out across the UK today and tomorrow.

Universities say they're making every effort to minimise the impact on students.

The union has dismissed a pay offer of just over one percent, branding it "insulting".

We've been offered a derisory 1.1 percent pay rise, whereas nationally, university vice-chancellors have got 6.1 percent in the last year.

Over the last six years, we are now 14.5 percent worse off in real terms than we were, and it's time to address the balance.

We want the university managers to insist that the national negotiators go back to the table and make a realistic offer.

– Ashley Tiffen, Branch Chair UCU University of Cumbria

University staff strike in Cumbria and Scotland

University staff are striking. Credit: PA

University staff based in Cumbria and the south of Scotland are striking over pay and conditions.

Members of the University and College Union will walk out today at the University of Cumbria, and the University of Glasgow's Crichton Campus in Dumfries.

They say since 2009 the value of their pay has decreased in real terms by 14.5 percent, and that male staff earn significantly more than female staff.

They also argue more than 75,000 staff are on 'casualised' contracts, and more than 21,000 on zero hours contracts.

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Nuclear college to be based in Cumbria

Sellafield Ltd will work with the new college. Credit: PA

A new £15 million nuclear college will be based at two hubs - in Cumbria and Somerset.

The National College for Nuclear is set to open its doors in late 2017, and aims to train the next generation of workers in the nuclear sector.

The Cumbrian hub will be opened at Lakes College in Workington, and will work with Sellafield Ltd and the University of Cumbria.

The announcement means that work will now begin on developing the curriculum which will help to train the next generation of nuclear workers.

It is expected that new qualifications will be available in 2017 that reflect the needs of the nuclear sector and address the skills challenge facing the industry and its supply chain.

– Colin Reed, Sellafield Ltd Human Resources Director
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