Members of the Unison trade union at Derry’s Magee Campus took to the streets yesterday in a dispute over pay and work loads.
The local University of Ulster staff took part in the one-day strike which was also observed by lecturers and support staff at the Jordanstown campus, St Mary’s University College and Queen’s University in Belfast.
It was part of a UK-wide strike of members of the trade union.
Goretti Horgan, a lecturer at Magee and union representative, said university lecturers had not received a pay rise in over four years and during that time had experienced a downturn in their “take home” pay.
Ms Horgan, who joined the picket line in Derry, also claimed lecturers were working in excess of 70 hours a week.
The University of Ulster did not officially support the action.
Magee campus remained open and students were encouraged to come in for class.
Unison regional organiser Brian Ferguson said he knew the decision to strike was a difficult one but that the employees hands had been forced. “The staff have been offered a pay rise of just 1% this year which means that yet again they lose out,” said Mr Ferguson.
“Their earnings have fallen in real terms several years in a row and a lot of our members have been forced into desperate situations just to get by.”
“The staff can take this no longer. Their hands have been forced.”
Mr Ferguson also encouraged UNISON members not working in higher education to join in solidarity with their contemporaries. Our members are only looking for one thing: fair pay. All our members understand what it is like to be squeezed in this tough economic climate and we ask for them to show solidarity with those who are striking.”