Strike action to hit University of Exeter students

Joseph Bulmer

Industrial action planned by staff at the University of Exeter in a row over pensions.

STUDENTS will be hit by the first UK-wide strike action in five years as staff at the University of Exeter prepare to hold two days of strike action in a row over pensions.

The members of the University and College Union (UCU) at the university are expected to take strike action on Tuesday, March 22, in protest against changes to the University Superannuation Scheme (USS) pension fund.

Exeter is one of 63 UK universities taking industrial action over the changes to USS.

Action is expected in Scotland on Thursday, March 17, with further separate demonstrations for Wales, Northern Ireland and England on the 18, 21 and 22 March.

This will be followed by UK-wide action on Thursday, March 24.

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: “The last thing our universities need is widespread disruption and strike action always remains a last resort.

“However, the employers must recognise the strength of feeling over pensions. Students clearly do and NUS has written to both sides urging us to get round the table and sort this out.

“Our diaries are clear and our message to the employers is simple: sit down with us and sort this mess out.”

The Union says it is hopeful that strike action can be avoided, although employers this week rejected UCU’s invitation to meet for talks through the arbitration service ACAS.

If no resolution can be met industrial action is expected to go ahead.

The president of the NUS president, Aaron Porter, has also written to the employers urging them to join UCU for talks and to try and avoid strike action.