Workers at Aberdeen University have begun the first of eight days of strike action amid rows over pensions, pay and working conditions.
Members of the University and College Union (UCU) are taking to the picket lines over changes to Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) pensions and other issues including pay, equality, casualisation and workloads.
Frederik Pedersen, senior lecturer and branch president of UCU at the university, said the university’s refusal to deal with the key issue of increased pension costs leaves no alternative.
He added: “The only way we can do this is by asking our universities to cover increased payments which they say they cannot afford.
“We’re striking to try to get that commitment from them, because universities don’t simply go bankrupt – the sector won’t break down.
“We’ve managed to get our points across, however, and we’ve found a way to make the university listen.
“Everybody is in high spirits and it is going very well so far.”
Professor Karl Leydecker, senior vice-principal at Aberdeen University, said: “This is a national dispute and we hope talks at a national level will continue and lead to a resolution.
“Here at Aberdeen it is revision week on campus, ahead of our exams, so teaching is limited, with contingencies in place in areas that may be affected.
Keep up to date with the latest news with The Evening Express newsletter
“We are committed to providing an excellent educational experience for our students and are working hard to ensure disruption is minimised.”
Eight universities in Scotland are involved in both disputes: Heriot-Watt, Aberdeen, Dundee, Stirling, Edinburgh, Glasgow, St Andrews and Strathclyde.
Three institutes – Glasgow Caledonian, Glasgow School of Art and Edinburgh’s Queen Margaret University – are only part of the pay and conditions dispute.
The Scottish Association of Marine Science is only in the USS pensions dispute.
Last month, members backed the action in ballots over both pensions and pay and working conditions, with turnouts in Scotland of 56.9% and 56.5% on the respective issues.
More than three-quarters (78%) backed the industrial action over USS changes, while 73% were in favour of strikes in the other dispute.
No agreement was reached with academic institution representatives ahead of the nationwide walkout.