University staff across the Meridian region to strike in December

Union members from 58 universities across the country will walk out from Wednesday 1 December to Friday 3 December. Credit: ITV News Meridian

58 universities will be hit with three days of industrial action from Wednesday 1st of December to Friday 3rd of December, the University and College Union (UCU) has announced.

Walkouts are expected at the University of Kent, University of Sussex, Reading University and Brighton University. At Bournemouth University and Winchester University staff are set to implement an overtime ban.

Earlier this month UCU members backed strike action in two separate ballots, one over pension cuts and one over pay & working conditions.

  • Alice Corble, from the University and College Union

Alice Corble from the University and College Union, said: "No one wants to see students learning disrupted, but the fact is their learning conditions are our working conditions."

"They are already being disrupted by all these disputes and untenable conditions we are talking about already, so it is not sustainable for us to go on."

The walk-out potentially leaves tens of thousands of students with cancelled lectures, tutorials, lab work and seminars.

And for many this is a huge blow, with so many having only returned to face to face learning this term after 18 months of remote learning because of the pandemic. 

It is a long running dispute that pre-dates the pandemic and previously led to staff walking out and not teaching pupils on campus almost two years ago.

  • Robert Van de Noort, Vice Chancellor, University of Reading

Robert Van de Noort, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Reading, said: "What's really important to me is whatever strike action is taking, we are supporting our students as they have suffered through the pandemic quite a lot so it's really important we are supporting our students."

The national organisation Universities UK says the action is regrettable and that Universities will put in place measures to minimise the impact on students and to ensure they can continue to learn and receive support.

But if the action goes ahead, it's expected to reignite the debate around tuition fees and value for money.