WORKERS at Essex University will walk out for eight days in a row over pay and pensions.

Members of the University and College Union (UCU) will strike between November 25 and December 4 following votes in favour of industrial action.

The strikes will hit 60 universities across the UK.

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: "The first wave of strikes will hit universities later this month unless the employers start talking to us seriously about how they are going to deal with rising pension costs and declining pay and conditions."

Last week, UCU members backed strike action in two separate disputes, one on pensions and one on pay and working conditions.

As well as the eight strike days union members will begin other forms of industrial action when they return to work.

This will include working strictly to contract, not covering for absent colleagues, and refusing to reschedule lectures lost to strike action.

The pensions strike is over changes to the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), which UCU says will leave members paying in more and receiving less in retirement.

A spokesman for Universities UK, which represents employers in the pensions dispute, said they are hopeful the issue can be resolved without industrial action, but plans are in place to ensure any potential disruption to staff and students is minimised.

He said the 2018 valuation was "both fair and reasonable".

The industrial action on pay is over what UCU describes as "universities failure to make improvements on pay, equality, casualisation and workloads".

A spokesman for UCEA, which represents employers in the pay dispute said: "Having achieved strike votes in only 57 of the 147 institutions where it balloted, we are dismayed to see UCU's decision to ask its members to take such extensive and damaging strike action over its national pay demands."

He said it was "completely unrealistic" for the union to force employers to reopen the pay round.

"The outcome was already at the very limit of what is affordable and the ballots confirm that the vast majority of employees in these institutions understand the challenging context," he added.

UCU held a series of strikes last year over pensions which affected universities around the UK.