By James Dowden, Co-Editor-in-Chief
University of Bristol students are braced for yet another series of strikes after the University and College Union (UCU) announced that 18 days of strike action will take place over disputes involving pay, working conditions and pensions cuts.
The UCU has confirmed that strike action will take place in February and March and will stretch over a period of seven weeks.
The specific dates have been confirmed are as follows: February 1st, 9th, 10th, 14th, 15th, 16th, 21st, 22nd, 23rd, 27th, 28th and March 1st, 2nd, 16th, 17th, 20th, 21st and 22nd and all fall within the academic spring term.
The UCU are expecting 70,000 members to go on strike at 150 universities across the country, including at Bristol.
The UCU is taking action over pay rises and asking for an improvement on the current 4-5% pay increase offer in light of the cost of living crisis, as well as seeking to reverse cuts made to the USS pension scheme.
It comes after Bristol staff also took strike action in November with members from the UCU and Unison protesting against working conditions.
UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: 'The university sector in the UK has over £40bn sitting in reserves, but instead of using that vast wealth to deliver a cost-of-living pay rise and reverse devastating pension cuts, university vice-chancellors would rather force staff to take strike action and see campuses shut down.
'There is a clear route out of these disputes, but at present vice-chancellors lack the political will to take it. They are failing staff who want to get back to work, and students who want to get on with their studies.
'Students understand that staff working conditions are their learning conditions and we are proud to have their support in these disputes. A system that relies on low pay and the rampant use of insecure contracts is a system which fails everyone.'
Grady also announced that further strike action is possible and that students at Bristol maybe be further affected.
‘From February, our union will begin reballoting its members to allow action to continue through the rest of the academic year, should they continue to drag their feet.'