Staff from 15 higher education institutions are taking part in the one-day strike over government plans to make teachers and lecturers work longer for their pensions and get less money in retirement.
The action coincides with the implementation of a 50 per cent increase in pension contributions for teachers and lecturers, which will take effect next month.
Older institutions are not affected by the industrial action because their pensions are covered by the private USS fund. Pensions in post-1992 institutions fall under the government-run Teachers’ Pension Scheme.
Members of the University and College Union and the National Union of Teachers are marching through central London, before gathering outside the Department for Education to make speeches.
The strike falls in the final week of the current spring term for most of the universities affected, although the disruption is likely to be minimised as it is taking place on a Wednesday – which is often cut short to allow for sports activities.
Led by the NUT, a national strike had initially been planned, but support from the regions failed to materialise.
Sally Hunt, UCU general secretary, said: “UCU members are unlikely militants and would much rather be doing their jobs then taking strike action and losing a day’s pay.
“However, it is not fair for ordinary people to suffer huge cuts in their standards of living at a time when the government is handing out huge tax giveaways to big business and high earners.”
Among those universities whose staff are involved are the universities of East London, Greenwich, Kingston, London Metropolitan, London South Bank, Middlesex, Roehampton, West London, Westminster and the University of the Arts, London.
Staff from Ravensbourne College of Design and Communication; the Royal College of Music; St Mary's University College, Twickenham; Rose Bruford College of Theatre & Performance; and Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance will also take part.