Fresh wave of strikes to begin in pensions row

A fresh wave of walkouts by university workers is due to begin next month, in the latest stage of a bitter row over pensions.

The University and College Union has confirmed that strikes will take place at 13 institutions around the UK, with industrial action at other universities set to follow later in the spring.

It comes as the union announced that the latest set of proposals aimed at ending the deadlock over the dispute will be put to its members in a ballot.

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The row centres on changes to the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS).

A total of 14 days of walkouts staged over a four-week period ended earlier this month - and UCU and Universities UK, which represents employers, have been holding talks chaired by Acas.

A new set of proposals for the USS scheme was put forward earlier this month, but this was rejected by UCU branches.

A second deal was put forward at the end of last week, and the union has now voted to put this to members.

In the meantime, UCU has confirmed it has served notices of walkouts at 13 universities, beginning on April 16, marking the start of a second wave of strike action.

A total of 65 institutions were affected in the first wave of walkouts, and it is understood that if the dispute is not resolved, strikes are likely to take place at more universities as part of industrial action targeted at the last weeks of teaching and exams season.

UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said: "These latest proposals were won by the solid action of UCU members and now is the time for them to have their say on what happens next."

The 12 universities that will face five days of walkouts between April 16-20 are: Brunel, Cardiff, Cranfield, Dundee, Leeds, Loughborough, Manchester, Oxford, Ruskin College, Salford, Southampton and St Andrews.

Bangor University will see strike action take place on April 16, 17 and 19.