ACADEMICS at the University of Bolton stood steadfast in their fight for “fair pay” as they staged another strike in an increasingly bitter national dispute over pay.

Members of University College Union and Unison, which represents other university staff, staged a picket line in protest at a one per cent pay rise.

Unions insist they will have suffered 13 per cent pay cut in real terms since October 2008 while “those at the top continue to enjoy healthy rises”.

The action, which took place across the country today followed a series of two-hour strikes by lecturers, for which they lost a full day’s pay.

The University of Bolton was one of only a handful of universities to dock staff a full day’s wage for a two hour walkout.

Damien Markey, secretary of the UCU branch at the University of Bolton, said: “We have had a good turnout of members taking action, academics have taken strike action seven times since last year.

"We have had support from some students, we do not want to take this action but there are issues that need addressing, gender pay inequalities, the pay of staff compared to those in the rest of the public sector.

“The money is there and we want employers to sit down and talk to us.”

The UCU claimed this week that UK lecturers earn significantly less than their counterparts in Australia, Canada and the USA.

Mr Markey said: “This has come as a shock to many of our members, and if this continues young lecturers will go abroad and we will lose good academics, it is worrying for Higher Education in this country.”

Christine Smith, library assistant at University of Bolton, said:“No-one wants to strike. We’re not being greedy, we deserve to be paid fairly for all the hard work we do and none of us earn big salaries.”

Students at the university said they were not warned of the disruption.

One, who asked to remain anonymous, said: “No-one has told us what is happening, we come in and found out our teachers are not there and nobody told us, we will be complaining.”

A spokesman for the University of Bolton, added: “The university understands students may have concerns about the impact of these strikes and we would like to assure all students that, wherever possible, we are making all reasonable efforts to minimise the impact on them and their student experience.”