West Country University staff will stage a five-day strike over pensions dispute

The West Country Universities are just 2 of 67 to strike over pensions. Credit: PA Images

Staff from the University of Bath and the University of Bristol are staging a five-day walkout starting today (28 March) over changes to their pensions.

Its part of wider action as staff from 67 Universities across the country are striking.

According to the University and College Union (UCU) cuts to the University's pension programmes will reduce the guaranteed retirement income of a typical member by 35%.

Staff from the University of Bristol are also striking over what they call "deteriorating pay and working conditions."

Staff at the University of Bath will be picketing every day at the main entrances of the University building all week, while at the University of Bristol, staff will picket at the University today and on the last day of the strike (1 April).

Staff say they will march from the University to College Green this morning for a rally.

This is the third round of strike action this academic year.

Just last month, students from the University of Bristol occupied the Will's Memorial Building in solidarity with staff.

Twelve students have occupied the Great Hall in Bristol University's Wills Memorial building last month (28 February). Credit: Anna Greene

The UCU are warning of a "staff exodus" from UK universities after two-thirds of university staff say they are considering leaving the sector after they carried out a survey.

The union say that more than 60% of their respondents said they were likely to leave the university sector over the pension cuts in the next five years.

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: "University staff are striking over devastating pension cuts. They have been pushed to breaking point again and again by vice-chancellors and are now saying that they are ready to leave the sector entirely. This is a damning indictment of the way staff have been treated.

"If vice-chancellors continue to ignore the longstanding concerns of staff, they will threaten the future of higher education in the UK. Universities generate income worth tens of billions and sit on huge reserves.

"Our report also highlights the toxic working culture that has been created by vice-chancellors. It cannot be allowed to continue, which is why university staff are on picket lines yet again."