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Another one-day strike for university academics and staff coming in December

Second day of industrial action comes little more than a month after the first

University academics and support staff are to stage a second national one-day strike on Tuesday, 3 December in an ongoing row over pay, four unions have announced.

UCU, whose members have been working to contract since the beginning of the month, said it had written to employers yesterday asking for dates to be set for talks aimed at resolving the dispute.

Michael MacNeil, UCU's head of higher education, said: "Staff have suffered year-on-year cuts in the value of their pay and have made it clear that enough is enough.

"We remain committed to trying to resolve this dispute and the employers now have until 3 December to sit down and positively engage with the unions. If they don't, then our members and those from our sister unions will be out on strike again, as well as continuing to work to contract."

At the time the unions announced plans to ballot members for strike action, the Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA), which represents and negotiates on behalf of universities as employers, said it was "disappointed" with the move.

It has said that, on top of the one per cent general pay rise, many university staff get other contributions which will increase pay by three per cent overall.

UCEA said that, according to the latest available data, 378,250 people work in the sector and of these 29,538, or 7.8 per cent, voted from the three unions. Around 17,800 voted in favour of strike action.

Members of three unions - UCU, Unison and Unite - took part in a one-day walkout on October 31, which saw lectures, libraries and university services cancelled, postponed or closed.

Union leaders claimed that many institutions across the country resembled "ghost towns" as their members joined picket lines.

But UCEA insisted that the strike had minimal impact.

The walkout affected 149 universities across the UK, according to the unions, with support services such as catering, cleaning and security hit alongside academic departments.