University staff strike over pensions

A huge rally has been taking place in Bristol as university staff across the South West strike over changes to their pensions.

Members of the University and College Union at the Universities of Exeter, Bristol and Bath are taking part in a two day walk out (Thursday 22 and Friday 23 February) which will be followed by more strike action over the next three weeks.

There was a major protest in Bristol over the threat to pensions. Credit: ITV West Country

Nationally the union claims the month-long action will affect more than one million students and will see 575,000 teaching hours lost.

Striking staff leafleting people arriving at the University of Bath. Credit: ITV West Country

UCU members are protesting at plans to end the defined benefit element of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) pension scheme. The union says this would leave a typical lecturer almost £10,000 a year worse off in retirement than under the current set-up.

On the picket line at Exeter University. Credit: ITV West Country

Universities UK says it remains at the negotiating table with the union and is willing to enter into further talks. It says that if UCU came up with a credible solution it would consider it but the financial situation is clear.

Proposed strike dates:

  • Week one - Thursday 22 and Friday 23 February (two days)

  • Week two - Monday 26, Tuesday 27 and Wednesday 28 February (three days)

  • Week three - Monday 5, Tuesday 6, Wednesday 7 and Thursday 8 March (four days)

  • Week four - Monday 12, Tuesday 13, Wednesday 14, Thursday 15 and Friday 16 March (five days)

Watch the students and lecturers "fighting for their future"