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Northern Ireland lecturers strike in pensions row

Around 50,000 students across Northern Ireland have been affected by strike action as university lecturers took to the picket line in a row over pensions.

Both Queen’s University, Belfast and the University of Ulster saw lecturers walk out yesterday over changes to their pensions, which they claim are to be reduced by 30%.

The industrial action follows a series of negotiations over the changes, a process which has been ongoing for three years.

The University and Colleges Union said a strike was unavoidable after the Employers Pension Forum rejected talks — something the EPF denies. Lecturers took to the picket line to try to encourage negotiations to resume.

Renee Prendergast, president |of the UCU at Queen’s, said the changes were a cost-cutting |exercise which would result in a cut in pensions for all staff, particularly new staff who would receive up to 30% less than their counterparts.

“This action is to try to encourage them back to the negotiating table so we can try to discuss how to manage the benefits,” she said.

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