Staff at 15 London universities have agreed to carry out 14 days of strike action in a dispute over pensions on a scale never before seen in the UK.

A further two universities in the capital may see industrial action as academics rebel over plans to change the pension scheme, which would leave a typical lecturer £10,000 a year worse off.

Universities UK, which represents the employers, has proposed an end to the defined benefit element of the Universities Superannuation Scheme.

In a recent University and College Union ballot, 88% of employees who voted approved strike action, while 93% wanted action short of a strike.

Universities including Imperial College, Brunel University, King's College London and UCL will be hit by the strike action, starting on February 22.

Staff at a further 46 universities across the UK also voted in favour of the strikes, including Oxford and Cambridge universities.

The 14 days of strikes will begin with two days of action on February 22 and February 23. Each following week the number of days of strike action will increase by one, starting on Monday.

This means that between February 22 and March 19, students in many universities across the country may see just three days of teaching.

Universities in London facing strike action

Staff at the following universities voted in favour of strike action:

  • Birkbeck College, Camden
  • Brunel University, Hillingdon
  • City, University of London, City of London
  • Courtauld Institue of Art, Westminster
  • Goldsmiths, University of London, Lewisham
  • Imperial College London, Kensington and Chelsea
  • Institute of Education, Camden
  • King's College London, Westminster and Southwark
  • London School of Hygeine and Tropical Medicine, Camden
  • Queen Mary University, Tower Hamlets
  • Royal Holloway, Egham
  • Royal Veterinary College, Camden
  • Senate House, Camden
  • School of Oriental and African Studies, Camden
  • University College London, Camden

London School of Economics and St George's University are to be reballoted on February 16 after failing to meet the 50% minimum turnout.

UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said: "Staff who have delivered the international excellence universities boast of are understandably angry at efforts to slash their pensions.

"They feel let down by vice-chancellors who seem to care more about defending their own pay and perks than the rights of their staff.

"Strike action on this scale has not been seen before on UK campuses, but universities need to know the full scale of the disruption they will be hit with if they refuse to sort this mess out."

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