Thousands of university staff across the south are launching an eight-day strike today in disputes over pay, conditions and pensions.
Thousands of members of the University and College Union at 60 UK universities - including Reading, Oxford, Sussex, Kent,Brighton, Bournemouth and Southampton, will walk out, disrupting lectures for over a million students in the run up to the Christmas break.
Picket lines will be mounted at campuses across the country, protests will be held and other forms of industrial action will be launched including not covering for absent colleagues and refusing to reschedule lectures lost to strike action.
Professor Chris Chatwin is President of the local Sussex branch of the University and College Union.
Those going on strike include lecturers, student support services staff, admissions tutors, librarians, technicians and administrators.
UCU general secretary Jo Grady warned that a second wave of strikes could be held in the new year if the deadlocked disputes remain unresolved. University leaders say they will try to lessen the impact of the action and insist they want to work with the union to reach an agreement.
But the UCU said staff had reached "breaking point"over a number of issues, including workloads, real-terms cuts in pay, a 15% gender pay gap and changes to the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS),which the union says will leave members paying in more and receiving less in retirement.
University of Sussex student Connor Moylett joined the picket line in support of staff on strike.