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Over 70000 UK university staff to strike for three days over pay

Over 70,000 university staff at 150 universities will strike for three days in November. (File photo)

Over 70,000 UK university staff will go on strike later this month over pay, working conditions and pensions, the University and College Union (UCU) said on Tuesday.

The UCU said the strikes will be held on 24, 25 and 30 November, with staff at 150 universities across the UK taking part in the walkouts.

"Campuses across the UK are about to experience strike action on a scale never seen before," the UCU general secretary Jo Grady said in a statement on the union's website.

"Seventy thousand staff will walk out and make clear they refuse to accept falling pay, cuts to pensions and insecure employment," Grady added.

“This is not a dispute about affordability – it is about choices. Vice-chancellors are choosing to pay themselves hundreds of thousands of pounds whilst forcing our members on to low-paid and insecure contracts that leave some using food banks. They choose to hold billions in surpluses whilst slashing staff pensions."

The strikes are expected to lead to the cancellation of lectures and disruption to courses for nearly 2.5 million students.

The union said, however, “disruption can be avoided if employers act fast and make improved offers. If they don’t, strike action will escalate in the new year alongside a marking and assessment boycott.”

The UCU demands a pay rise due to the cost-of-living crisis, following the offer of a pay increase starting at 3 percent, and an end to insecure contracts.

The union also wants a reversal of cuts to sector pensions imposed this year which it says will see the average member lose around 35% from future retirement income.

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