Northern Ireland

NI Education: Some staff at Queen's and Ulster University go on two-day strike

Queen's University
Image caption Most teaching and exams have concluded at both Queen's University and Ulster University for this academic year

Some staff at Queen's University and Ulster University are on a two-day strike over pay.

Members of the University and College Union (UCU) at both universities are taking part in the action.

The UCU say the UK-wide strike is in response to a 1.1% pay rise offered by the Universities and Colleges Employer Association (UCEA).

In response, the UCEA said that they had made a "fair and final offer" on pay.

From Wednesday, union members will also refuse to work overtime, set additional work, or undertake any voluntary duties like covering timetabled classes for absent colleagues.

The UCU are planning further strike action in June and July.

'Pay cuts'

They also say that they are beginning preparations for a boycott of the setting and marking of students' work, to begin in the autumn, if an acceptable pay offer has not been made by then.

UCU Northern Ireland official Katharine Clarke said that university staff income had been reduced in real terms for a number of years.

"A 1.1% pay offer is particularly insulting when we know vice-chancellors have just had over 5%," she said.

"After six years of pay cuts and constant demands to do more for less, staff have said enough is enough."

Two-thirds of UCU members who voted backed strike action and three-quarters voted for action short of a strike.

In a statement, the UCEA said that they were "dismayed" by the strike and the potential disruption to students.

"This final pay offer represents a significant investment, showing the high value that employers place in their staff in the face of an exceptionally challenging year of turbulence and increasing costs from other sources," they said.

As most teaching and exams have concluded at both Queen's University and Ulster University for this academic year, the industrial action is not expected to cause major disruption.

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