Pickets in place as staff at Sunderland and Durham Universities walk out

Member of the University and College Union on the picket line outside the Forster Building, Chester Road, Sunderland. Photograph by FRANK REID
Member of the University and College Union on the picket line outside the Forster Building, Chester Road, Sunderland. Photograph by FRANK REID
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Pickets were in place this morning as staff at Sunderland and Durham universities walked out as part of a two-day national pay strike.

Members of the University and College Union (UCU) at Durham, Newcastle, Northumbria, Sunderland and Teesside Universities are taking part take part in the action and have also begun working to contract.

We have had a good turn-out and we have had buildings at both campuses covered.

Jeff Fowler

The union represents academics, lecturers, trainers, researchers and academic-related staff working in further and higher education throughout the UK.

But university chiefs say they have prepared for the action and have promised to keep disruption to a minimum.

The union has described a pay offer of 1.1% from employer body the Universities and Colleges Employers’ Association as ‘an insult’ and says it does little to address a real term pay cut of 14.5% that members have suffered since 2009.

Pickets were at Sunderland University’s St Peter’s Campus and the science complex in Chester Road this morning.

Organiser Jeff Fowler was delighted with the support from members and pleased with the response from the public and students.

“It was great - we have had a good turn-out and we have had buildings at both campuses covered,” he said.

“We have had a few students go in who have offered us sympathy - there is no hostility, just passive support.

“We had a bit of a rally about 11 o’clock outside the science complex and we had about 20 of us there.”