Northern Ireland university staff to go on strike over pay dispute
Staff at Northern Ireland's two universities will stage walkouts today and tomorrow.
The strike is part of industrial action being taken at universities across the UK in a dispute over pay.
The University and College Union announced its members at Queen's University and Ulster University would take part in the industrial action.
The union said the dispute arose following a pay offer of 1.1%. It claimed that universities could afford to pay more and added that the offer "did little to address the real terms pay cut of 14.5% that its members have suffered since 2009".
Regional official Katharine Clarke blasted the pay offer as "insulting". "University staff can no longer put up with the continued squeeze on their income," she said.
Around two-thirds (65.4%) of members who voted backed strike action, and more than three-quarters (77.3%) voted for action short of a strike.
Members will also begin working to contract from today, which in effect means they will refuse to work overtime, set additional work, or undertake any voluntary duties such as covering timetabled classes for absent colleagues.
The union said that if no agreement was reached in the coming weeks, its members would take part in further strikes in June and July.
The union is also beginning preparations for a boycott of the setting and marking of students' work, to begin in the autumn if an acceptable offer has still not been made.