THE universities of Durham, Newcastle and York are bracing for 14 days of strike action, with the first walk-out taking place on Thursday.

Members of the University and College Union (UCU) are walking out in two disputes - one over pensions, and another over pay and working conditions – in the largest wave of strikes ever seen on UK campuses.

UCU members will be taking action on Thursday and Friday, as well as the next Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. This will be followed by more strikes in the ensuing two weeks.

Striking members of staff will be on picket lines at the entrances to their universities from 8am, including outside Newcastle University's main entrance at King’s Gate, and outside Durham University’s Stockton Road entrance, near the Palatine Centre.

The disputes centre on changes to USS pensions and universities’ "failure to make improvements on pay, equality, casualisation and workloads".

University employers in the pensions row said that they “regret” UCU’s decision to strike, while those representing institutions in the pay and conditions dispute said they were “dismayed”.