University lecturers take part in one-day strike
Lectures and tutorials were disrupted and some university services cancelled yesterday as university lecturers and administrative staff from the Westcountry went on strike over pay.
Tens of thousands of people across the country were expected to strike yesterday in the first national strike over pay for seven years.
The action, organised by the University and College Union (UCU), Unison and Unite, centred on a 1% pay rise which the unions insist means there has been a 13% pay cut in real terms since October 2008. All the Westcountry's universities were affected by the strike action to differing degrees. Plymouth University staff formed picket lines in the city centre campus, while the University of Exeter said around a quarter of its staff were union members.
Falmouth University and The University of St Mark and St John were also reported to be affected by the action.
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UCU regional official Philippa Davey said staff were angry at having to endure massive pay cuts. She said: "Staff at universities across the South West are angry that they have had to endure massive pay cuts.
"This year's miserly 1% pay offer at a time of rising bills and increased pension contributions was the straw that broke the camel's back.
"Staff love their jobs, but their goodwill cannot continue to be taken for granted.
"We are disappointed the employers are still refusing to sit down with us to try to resolve this without any need for disruption."
Unison said that the action had garnered widespread support from staff and students, causing "major disruption" in 21 towns and cities.
The University of Exeter, which is part of the national pay bargaining agreement that made the offer, said, prior to the strike, it would withhold pay from those striking and donate the money to the student hardship fund.
"We very much hope that the on-going national negotiations will result in a quick resolution to the dispute," said a spokesman.