ACADEMICS at the University of Bolton will stage a walkout tomorrow as the bitter row over pay intensifies with a fresh wave of strike action.

The University and College Union (UCU) is planning a number of two-hour national strikes aimed at disrupting teaching.

Lecturers in Bolton will join their colleagues across the country and walk out between 11am and 1pm in protest at one per cent pay rise offer.

The move could lead to lectures being cancelled and the UCU has warned members would consider boycotting exam marking if there is no breakthrough in talks. Bosses from the university have said they will do all they can to minimise the impact on students.

Damien Markey, secretary of the university’s UCU branch, said: “We have tried to avoid strike action and repeatedly attempted to negotiate with the University and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA).

“The value of our salaries has fallen by 13 per cent since 2009, but they will not look into our pay or the other issues that we wish to discuss.”

Further strike action has been planned for next Tuesday, between 2pm and 4pm, and on Monday, February 10 between 9am and 11am. Mr Markey said: “We need to defend the quality of higher education. Lower pay is less attractive to new staff and will drive down the standard of research and teaching. Is that what we want our universities to be like?”

Professor Rob Campbell, University of Bolton Pro Vice Chancellor, said: “This action by lecturing staff who are members of the University and College Union is part of national strike action taking place in English universities over national pay issues.

‘The university understands students may have concerns about the impact of these strikes and I would like to assure all students that, wherever possible, we will make arrangements to minimise the impact on them and their student experience.”