Staff at Solent University braved the wet and windy weather on Tuesday to begin a two-day walkout in an ongoing dispute over pay and staff shortages.

More than a dozen members of Unison Southampton gathered outside the university’s main campus with high-vis jackets, horns, and whistles – determined to be noticed by passers-by as they called for fair pay amid the cost-of-living crisis.

Speaking to the Echo, Neil Duncan-Jordan, Unison regional organiser and representative of staff members at Solent University, said: “We are taking strike action in support of the staff and their pay claim.

“There will be another day of strike action tomorrow and we are balloting them at the moment to extend their mandate to take strike action up to August.

“We’re left with little alternative but to take strike action, we’re open to negotiating with the employer but so far they haven’t wanted to talk.”

The strike action follows both regional and national walkouts that took place in September and December 2023.

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READ MORE: Solent University staff to go on strike this month

Neil added that public support for the strikes had been positive.

He added: “When motorists drive by and see us along the road, they toot their horn and give us a wave.

“Students seem a bit bewildered by it to be honest but if we can help spread the message that would be really good because it affects all staff and students on the campus.”

Declan Clune, secretary of Southampton and South West Hampshire Trade Union Council told the Echo that he joined the picket line in order to show solidarity with the higher education staff on strike.

He said: “This is happening to more and more workers around the country.

“This is common everywhere now, picket lines have been increasing around the country, across all sectors and workers have had enough.

“We’re going through a cost-of-living crisis, Covid before that, and for the best part of 14 years staff haven’t had a pay rise in line with inflation and people are struggling to pay their bills.”

He added: “Some people are having to chose whether they have their heating on at home or have dinner.

“That’s why strike action is important, we need the best for our workers.”