EIGHT days of strike action will take place at the University of Reading due to disputes over pay, working conditions and rising pension costs. 

Members of the University and College Union (UCU) will walk out from Monday, November 25 until Wednesday, December 4.

The strike will affect 60 universities across the UK, the union announced yesterday. UCU members backed strike action in ballots last week.

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The union said universities have to ‘respond positively and quickly if they wanted to avoid disruption before Christmas’. 

After members return to work, they will begin ‘action short of a strike’ — working strictly to contract, not covering for absent colleagues, and refusing to reschedule lectures lost to strike action. 

At the University of Reading, 72 per cent of polled UCU members voted for strikes over changes to pension schemes, and 68 per cent voted for strikes over pay and conditions. 

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Jo Grady, UCU general secretary, said: “Strike action is a last resort, but staff have made it quite clear that enough is enough and universities can be in no doubt about the strength of feeling.

“The first wave of strikes will hit institutions later this month unless universities start talking to us seriously about how they are going to deal with rising pension costs and declining pay and conditions.” 

Other strikes will take place the University of Oxford, Bournemouth University, and the University of Sussex. 

Professor Robert Van de Noort, vice-chancellor, said: “I am deeply disappointed that we face industrial action here at Reading for the second time in recent years, given the core disputes cannot be resolved locally.

“It is particularly frustrating to find ourselves facing industrial action at a time when we have been engaged in productive discussions with the Reading branch of the UCU … and are close to reaching an agreement on new pay and conditions arrangements.”

Prof Van De Noort said his priority is to minimise disruption for students. All students will be emailed and reassured about mitigation.