Staff strike disrupts freshers’ week at over 40 universities

Thousands of students face disruption as staff at more than 40 universities join picket lines across the United Kingdom as part of a long-running dispute by members of the University and College Union over pay and conditions, writes Vanessa Clarke for BBC News.

The action will be smaller than planned as dozens of branches called off action following constructive talks with their universities. The Universities and Colleges Employers Association says this year’s pay deal is the highest offer in 20 years. But the union is calling for an above-inflation pay rise and an end to insecure contracts.

University and College Union members at 36 universities are striking for five days, while staff will strike for one day at a further 11 institutions. The union says more than 20,000 staff will be taking part in the strikes which will coincide with freshers’ week for many first-year students. It says the action is now targeted “at the very worst employers” and follows strikes at five universities in Scotland last week.
Full report on the BBC site