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First national higher education strikes for five years commence

Walkouts have commences at UK universities over changes to pay, jobs and pensions.

18 March 2011

The first national walkouts in the higher education sector to be held for five years started yesterday (March 17th) in Scotland.

Industrial action was called by the University and College Union (UCU) after strike negotiations over changes to pay, jobs and conditions failed.

Further action is scheduled by lecturers in Northern Ireland on March 21st and in England on March 22nd, with UK-wide protests being held on March 24th.

Union members who are enrolled in pension schemes voted in favour of the walkouts as a result of proposed reforms to the system.

Sally Hunt, general secretary of the UCU, stated university staff had "made it clear from the start of this dispute that if the employers were not prepared to negotiate then we would be left with little option but to take strike action".

Professionals at five Welsh universities are staging strikes today (March 18th) as part of the organised series of protests.

Picketers were out in Cardiff this morning holding signs stating "Hands off our pensions", with the Employers Pension Forum telling the BBC it is disappointed by the decision to press ahead with the walkouts.

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