Strikes will go ahead for three days at the University of Essex next month after staff voted in favour of taking industrial action over pay and pension disputes.

Lecturers and professional services staff were balloted earlier this month on whether to strike or take industrial action short of a strike, such as a marking boycott.

Both ballots saw staff vote strongly in favour of action following a three-week ballot, with Essex being one of 58 universities in the UK set to be affected as staff go on strike over one or both of the disputes.

The strikes are largely down to disagreements over pensions and pay, but university staff are also fighting casualisation, workload, and inequality as part of their industrial action.

Universities UK (UUK), Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), and the Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) are the main bodies universities are standing in opposition to.

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UCU general secretary Jo Grady has warned that more industrial action could take place in the spring if the row with employers remains unresolved.

She said: “Strikes over three consecutive days are set to hit university campuses next month unless employers get round the table and take staff concerns over pension cuts, pay and working conditions seriously.

She added: “UCU has repeatedly asked employers to meet with us to try to resolve these disputes.

“But while we set out pragmatic solutions that could halt widespread disruption to UK campuses, university bosses refuse to revoke unnecessary, swingeing pension cuts or even to negotiate on issues like casualisation and the unbearably high workloads that blight higher education.”

The National Union of Students (UCU) voiced its support of the strikes.

Larissa Kennedy, the president of the NUS, said: “With vice chancellors’ average total pay packets rising to £269,000 per year, it’s clear employers can afford to resolve their dispute with UCU over staff pay, which has fallen by an average of 20% in real terms since 2009.

“Staff teaching conditions are student learning conditions, and we mustn’t forget many postgraduate students on casualised teaching contracts will be striking.”