Students at Queen’s University Belfast and Ulster University are facing major disruption as the most severe strike action ever taken by lectureres begins today.
The University and College Union (UCU) is taking the action over a dispute over changes to staff pensions, which they claim would leave a typical lecturer almost £10,000 a year worse off in retirement than under the current set-up.
More than 60 universities across the UK face similar industrial action.
They have been instructed not to work or cross picket lines on Thursday and Friday.
They plan to do the same next week on February 26, 27 and 28, with further strike action planned for March.
UCU Northern Ireland Official, Katharine Clarke said: “It is disappointing that QUB and Ulster University have refused to exercise their influence to persuade UUK to compromise and find a negotiated solution when other universities have done exactly that.
“Clearly the managements of our universities are unconcerned about their staff facing poverty in retirement after a lifetime of dedicated service.
“This is totally unacceptable and has left our members with no alternative but to strike to defend the pensions they have paid into over the course of their employment.”
Universities UK said that without pension reform universities would no choice but to implement cutbacks.