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  1. ITV Report

University staff and students walk out on first of unprecedented 14 days of strike action over pay and pensions

Lecturers and support staff have walked out in the first of 14 days of strikes, causing disruption at universities across the south and south east.

They're protesting over a variety of issues including pensions, workload and job security. Lecturers are now often employed on short term contracts.

Many students support the strikes but some are calling for tuition fees to be refunded, saying they're not getting the teaching they've paid for.

  • Click below to see the strike action in Brighton and Canterbury:
  • Click below to see the strike action in Oxford, Reading and Winchester:
  • Click below to see the strike action in Southampton, Bournemouth, Winchester and Brighton:

The wind and rain hasn't dampened the spirits of these students in Brighton.

They're protesting alongside their lecturers who've gone out on strike.

Protesters at the University of Sussex Credit: ITV Meridian

This early morning picket line at the University of Sussex is formed of lecturers and support staff.

Campuses across Brighton and Canterbury are affected by the walk outs.

The disputes centre on changes to the universities' pension scheme, the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), that the UCU report mean members will pay more for their pension but will ultimately lose tens of thousands of pounds in retirement.

Staff are also angry at universities' failure to make significant improvements on pay, equality, casualisation and workloads.

What do students in Southampton have to say?

The University of Sussex says it's focused on ensuring minimal disruption to campus life by keeping services running.

Members of the University and College Union (UCU) said support was "solid" as they took to the picket line on the first day of the biggest ever wave of strikes.

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said the support sent a "clear message to universities" that the should be working together to "work things out".

Staff from Oxford, Reading, Winchester and elsewhere saying things so bad in Higher Education they're compelled to take drastic action.

Protests in Oxford, Reading and Winchester Credit: ITV Meridian
  • Aris Katzourakis- Oxford UCU Union:

The government says universities must act to help and support students like Liberty through this.

  • Nadhim Zahawi MP- Former minister for Children & Families:

Ironically, some critics argue much of the present situation in Higher Education comes from the increased marketisation of the sector created by the tripling of fees.