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University staff in Lancaster to take further strike action

UCU members outside the University of Cumbria in Lancaster on Friday

University staff in Lancaster will continue to call for fairer pay and conditions when they take further strike action on Wednesday.

Staff taking industrial action were outside the University of Cumbria campus on Bowerham Road on Friday calling for a fair pay deal, action on equality pay gaps, the elimination of casualisation and action on workloads.

They said their pay had been cut by 25 per cent since 2009 and employers had offered them a pay increase of just three per cent - a massive cut relative to inflation.

They also said that overwork, insecurity and poor pay was impacting on their work and the learning of students.

There was also industrial action at Lancaster University.

Members of the University and College Union (UCU) at 150 universities across the UK were on strike on Thursday and Friday, and will take industrial action again on Wednesday, November 30.

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: "Our message to the employers for these three days is very clear - put a proper offer on the table or this is just the start of our fight back."

A University of Cumbria spokesperson said: “The strike action proposed by UCU is part of a national dispute. 

“We recognise that the decision to take industrial action is not taken lightly and we respect colleagues' right to take part.

“The University of Cumbria has discussed the matter constructively with UCU locally, and all parties are committed to handling the action and any associated impact on students in a responsible and sensible way.

“The university will make every effort to minimise the impact of the action on our students and to ensure that no student is materially disadvantaged as a consequence of the industrial action.

“Our campuses and all other university resources and support will remain open and available to all students during the strike.”

A spokesperson for Lancaster University said: "This is national action affecting 150 universities and follows two separate ballots held in October – one over the recent USS pension valuation, and one over pay and working conditions – in which UCU members voted in favour of strike action.

"Staff across the university are taking steps to make sure there is as little disruption for students as possible during this time, and that students are supported in their studies and assessment. Not all staff are members of the staff union and not all members may choose to participate in industrial action, so the impact is likely to vary in different parts of the university."

Higher education minister Robert Halfon said it was "hugely disappointing" that students would face further disruption and urged "all sides to work together".

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