LONDON (Reuters) – Lecturers at universities throughout Britain started a strike on Thursday in a row over modifications to pensions, the primary of a sequence of walkouts their union mentioned would have an effect on multiple million college students.
The strike was the primary deliberate over the subsequent month which the University and College Union (UCU) mentioned would hit greater than 60 establishments, together with the elite Oxford and Cambridge Universities, and result in the loss of 575,000 hours of instructing.
Tens of hundreds of scholars, who pay as much as 9,250 kilos a 12 months for his or her programs, have signed petitions demanding compensation if their research are disrupted.
“The universities’ refusal to negotiate with us has caused this mess and they owe it to students to start negotiating properly,” mentioned UCU common secretary Sally Hunt.
UCU members are indignant at plans to finish the outlined profit factor of pensions, which the union says would depart a typical lecturer 10,000 kilos a 12 months worse off.
Universities UK, the physique comprising govt heads of universities, mentioned the price of future pensions had risen by a 3rd within the final three years and that the Universities Superannuation Scheme had a deficit of 6.1 billion kilos.
“This industrial action is targeted at students,” a Universities UK spokesman mentioned. “It will be young people and the next generation of students who will also suffer if their education deteriorates because employers are forced to make cuts to pay more into pensions.”
Sam Gyimah, the government minister liable for universities, referred to as on each side within the dispute to return to talks.
“I am deeply concerned about the impact this strike will have on students who deserve to receive the education that they are paying for,” he mentioned in an announcement.
Reporting by Michael Holden; enhancing by Stephen Addison