STAFF at a Hampshire university will walk out in a row over pensions.

The lecturers at Southampton University will take to the picket line with 14 days of strikes after talks between University and College Union and Universities UK failed.

As previously reported unions, which represent about 700 support staff at the university, say changes to staff pension schemes would mean their members would have to contribute much more to the pension scheme but get out significantly less and could leave lecturers £10,000 a year worse off than under the current set-up.

Now Southampton staff will walk out after turnout at their ballot was one of the highest in the country with 88 per cent voting for industrial action on a turnout of 67 per cent.

The university is one of 61 institutions across the UK that will see staff walk out on February 22.

The union has confirmed an escalating programme of strikes over a four week period that will begin with a five-day walkout either side of a weekend.

The universities will then be hit with four days of strikes from March 5-8 and a full five-day walkout the following week March.

UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said: ‘Staff who have delivered the international excellence universities boast of are understandably angry at efforts to slash their pensions. They feel let down by vice-chancellors who seem to care more about defending their own pay and perks than the rights of their staff.

‘Strike action on this scale has not been seen before on UK campuses, but universities need to know the full scale of the disruption they will be hit with if they refuse to sort this mess out.’

It comes just months after thousands of students went to the polls and voted for Vice Chancellor Sir Christopher Snowden's pay of £433,000 to be cut.

A spokesperson for Southampton University said: "The University of Southampton’s primary concern is that our students are not disadvantaged and that there is minimal disruption to their studies and progression. The University has established processes to manage this type of disruption and will be working closely with the Students’ Union and other colleagues to implement contingency plans so that students can continue with their studies and course work assignments as planned. It is our intention that all University facilities and resources will be open as usual.

"The University recognises this is an issue of understandable interest to many of our colleagues. The University is clear it wants the national negotiating parties to reach the best possible affordable outcome for staff.