LECTURERS, students and staff have been on the picket line in York supporting the biggest ever wave of strikes on university campuses.

Members of the University and College Union (UCU) are walking out for 14 days in a long-running dispute over pay and pensions.

Steve Roskams, union representative for the archaeology department at the University of York, said staff also have worries about workload and gender pay equality.

He added that, while some staff are contracted to work 37.5 hours a week, many end up working up to 50.

And that many union members are on short term contracts.

He said: "There has been more support from people and we have found that students are out there supporting us too."

A spokesperson for the university said: "Our focus is on minimising the impact of the strikes on our students.

"We understand the decision to take part in industrial action is not taken lightly and we respect the rights of our staff to participate.

“We care very much for the wellbeing of our staff and students and are encouraging all parties to work together to find a solution to these national issues."

Union members at 74 universities are taking part in the strike action.

Professor Alistair Fitt, Vice Chancellor of Oxford Brookes University, and a member of the Employers Pensions Forum for Higher Education, told the PA news agency that some progress had been made in talks.

"The strikes are a source of regret - no-one wants this to happen."

A Universities and Colleges Employers' Association spokesman said universities are "deeply disappointed" that extensive strikes are going ahead.