Nurse lecturers plan to walk out over pay row

Dispute could 'drag on until autumn', says union

The disparity in pay increases between nurse lecturers and university bosses is provoking industrial action by academics.

More than 66,000 healthcare-related members of the University and College Union (UCU) are planning a two-day nationwide strike starting on Wednesday (May 25).

They will also begin working to rule by refusing to do overtime, set additional work or undertake any voluntary duties such as covering for absent colleagues.

They have rejected an 'insulting' pay offer of 1.1% after a Times Higher Education Supplement survey found vice-chancellors' salaries rose by an average of 5.1% in 2014/15.

Northumbria University UCU branch chair Julia Charlton, a nurse educator for 23 years, plans to join the picket line next week.

She said: ‘This month I earned only £47 more than in 2008 and that is because of successive pay restraints and increasing pension and national insurance contributions.

‘It is also increasingly difficult to recruit lecturers from the NHS as people are not prepared to come across and drop £10,000 a year.’

Ms Charlton predicted the dispute will continue until autumn but said she feels encouraged by yesterday’s (May 18) agreement between the British Medical Association and Department of Health on resolving the junior doctors’ contract row.

She said the government would not want another long-running campaign of strikes in the health sector so soon and added: ‘I would hope that leads to a positive impact’.

Nationally, the UCU is asking for a 5% settlement and for action to close the gender pay gap.

The strike proposal is supported by the National Union of Students.