Lecturers at a dozen Scottish universities are to lead a walkout this month in a row over pay and conditions, it has been announced.

Educators at universities including Edinburgh, Glasgow, Stirling and St Andrews, say they plan to strike for eight days between November 25 and December 4 after members of the University and College Union (UCU) backed two ballots over pensions, pay and working practices.

Members are also set to enforce ‘work to rule’ practices when they return, refusing to cover for absent colleagues and declining to reschedule lectures and classes lost to the action.

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It comes after what the union calls a series of ‘detrimental’ changes to the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) and a failure by institutions to make improvements on pay, equality, casualisation and workloads.

UCU Scotland official Mary Senior said: “This first wave of strikes will hit universities later this month unless the employers sit down and start talking seriously about how they will deal with declining pay and conditions and increasing pension costs.” 

“Universities should be in no doubt about the level of anger across university campuses on these issues.”

Eight Scottish universities are taking part in action over both disputes with three, Glasgow Caledonian, Queen Margaret and the Glasgow School of Art walking out over pay and conditions only.

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The Universities of Aberdeen, Dundee, Strathclyde, Heriot Watt and the Scottish Association for Marine Science, based in Oban, will also be hit by the strikes.

A spokesman for Universities UK, which represents employers in the pensions dispute, said they are hopeful the issue can be resolved without industrial action, but that plans are in place to ensure any potential disruption to staff and students is minimised.

“The resolution to the 2018 Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) valuation is both fair and reasonable, with the additional costs of maintaining the current level of benefits shared 65:35 by employers and scheme members”, he said.

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“It’s important to note that the number of UCU members who voted for strike action over pensions accounts for less than 10% of the active membership of USS.”

The spokesman added: “We are committed to ensuring USS remains one of the very best pension schemes in the country, and hope that UCU will now join us to consider governance reforms and alternative options for future valuations, which deliver a shared set of principles, increased transparency and a sustainable scheme."