Newcastle University staff and students gather at Monument in strike against pension cuts

The latest strike against pension cuts began on Valentine’s Day

Striking Newcastle University lecturers gathered at Newcastle's monument to protest against cuts to their pensions.

The strike is being led by the University and College Union and calls for ten days of strike action across the UK.

The strike comes as the group claim that universities refuse to withdraw cuts to the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) or accept a compromise proposal put forward by the group.

The changes would cut the guaranteed retirement income of members by 35% and is set to be finalised on February 22.

The UCU claim that "a few years of high inflation could wipe out much of our pensions".

More university staff, including those from Northumbria University, will join the strike from Monday, February 21 too.

NewcastleWorld spoke to striking staff members and students who assembled at the famous Newcastle landmark on Monday.

One striking staff member, Sarah said: "Our pensions are under attack again.

"It's the third time in the last few years we'd been out on strike because of our pensions.

"They say we have to contribute more and get less."

Another staff member, Jonathan stated: "Our contributions to the pension scheme increased and yet the total money we receive is being cut dramatically.

"We took this job knowing that there was a pension scheme that was liveable and had it pulled out from under us."

Also striking is Will, who said: "The specific topic of today's strike is the pensions but I think it's part of much larger pension but I think it's part of a much larger action to improve the University by taking on casualisation, pay inequality and a number of things that really impact students and the number of people who work here in negative ways."

Some students had also turned up at the protest to show solidarity with their striking professors.

Sam said: "University management try and cite the opinions of students as a reason the workers should not strike, beacause of the effect it will have on us.

"But if we recognise the importance of their right to strike, then that makes a real big difference if the University can see us supporting them."

Tom added: "We know that staff working conditions are student learning conditions.

"If we want to continue to have the great teaching that we've had so far we know we need staff to be properly paid."