University staff across the region began a wave of walkouts today as part of an ongoing dispute over pensions.
Members of the University and College Union are staging the first in a series of strikes at 64 institutions across the country, including York, Durham and Newcastle.
It's the first of 14 days of action over four weeks affecting 61 thousand students in our region.
University UK have called the strike action 'disappointing', and said the pension scheme has a deficit of more than 6 billion pounds which needs to be reduced. It said staff will still benefit from a valuable scheme and added it was in continuing talks with the University and College Union to try and resolve the dispute.
Newcastle University vice-chancellor Professor Chris Day has broken rank with Universities UK to support striking lecturers and called for negotiations on pensions to resume.
In a statement Professor Day said he “absolutely supported staff’s decision to strike”, saying he didn’t know “what else they could do to express their concerns about the current situation”. He said he was meeting the employer body, Universities UK (UUK), today and would “urge strongly that negotiations need to recommence.”