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University of Kent staff from Canterbury and Medway campuses to strike for three days


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Staff at the University of Kent will go on strike today amid a row over pensions, pay and working conditions.

Workers from almost 60 institutions will be walking out for three days - with the University and College Union (UCU) saying the action will be just the start of "sustained disruption" if employers fail to negotiate.

Staff from the University of Kent - which has campuses in Canterbury and Medway - will be going on strike today
Staff from the University of Kent - which has campuses in Canterbury and Medway - will be going on strike today

Universities are set to be hit by the strikes from today until Friday after UCU members backed action in two separate ballots earlier this month - one over pension cuts, and one over pay and working conditions.

The National Union of Students (NUS) is backing staff from the 58 institutions which are taking industrial action.

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said it is "deeply regrettable staff have been forced" into walking out again.

"But sadly university bosses have shown little interest in negotiating in good faith and addressing the serious concerns of staff over falling pay, massive pension cuts, equality pay gaps and the rampant use of insecure contracts," she said.

"The truth is staff are asking for the bare minimum in a sector awash with money.

The University of Kent is one of 58 institutions which are taking industrial action
The University of Kent is one of 58 institutions which are taking industrial action

"But sadly, the only time vice chancellors seem to listen is when staff take action, and those leading our universities should not underestimate their determination to change this sector for the better."

It is the latest in a long-running saga between staff and universities - and follows the Covid pandemic where campuses were shut to most students.

Students also experienced strikes shortly before the first lockdown last year.

Some staff are striking over pensions in December, while others are striking over pay and working conditions.

Workers from the University of Kent, which has campuses in Canterbury and Medway, are from one of the 33 institutions who are walking out over both.

The main picket will be held from 8am at the main entrance to the University of Kent's Canterbury campus.

A spokesperson for the University of Kent said: "We regret the decision by UCU to take industrial action over both proposed national changes to the USS Pension Scheme and wider concerns about pay and conditions in the sector.

"While at this stage it is not possible to know how many UCU members at Kent will choose to join this action and how our students might be affected, we have assured our students their education and academic progression is our utmost priority and we will do as much as possible to mitigate any impact on their studies.

"We will also work to ensure that the potential impact any industrial action could have on our university community is minimised.

"We have a strong track record of working successfully with trade union representatives and we remain fully committed to doing all we can in our discussions with them to find a way forward in this dispute."

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