ANGRY lecturers and union bosses said further strikes were likely as eight days of action came to an end.

It follows disputes over equality, job security, fair workloads and fair pay.

A group of protesters stood outside the University of Brighton’s Grand Parade campus on Wednesday holding signs which said “four fights, one voice” and “please hoot to support us”.

Mark Abel, chairman of the Brighton branch of the University and College Union (UCU) joined them.

He said: “It has been really successful. It is a hard thing to call people out for eight days but people have responded really well.

“We have had good support from students, despite management saying that we are letting them down.”

The strikes were announced by the UCU early last month, with 60 UK universities affected.

UCU general secretary Jo Grady demanded universities “start talking to us seriously about how they are going to deal with rising pension costs and declining pay and conditions”.

But Mr Abel said that “in one sense, pay is the least important part”.

He said: “What’s more important is the gender and race pay gap which we want to rectify. It’s shocking that there is a 15 per cent gender pay gap in universities.”

A spokesman for the University of Brighton argued that “the gender pay gap for academic staff at the university stands at 5.6 per cent which is two-thirds lower than the figure for the sector as a whole”.

Mr Abel also said university staff are “highly qualified people being treated like casual labour” on account of issues such as “three voluntary severance schemes at the University of Brighton and increased work loads”.

Though he said the strike had been successful, he said not enough action had been taken.

Mr Abel said: “We have had acknowledgement but they have not moved at all yet.

“If there is not enough movement, we will act.”

In light of the strikes, a student-led petition has been created online campaigning for “equality for lecturers or refund our tuition fees”.

It has been signed more than 600 times.

The campaign states: “Students at the University of Brighton have set up a petition for action to be taken, in response to the eight-day strike.

“We are in support of the lecturers and would like the university to either reopen negotiations or to refund our tuition for the education time we have lost. As students we have worked out that we pay £50 a day on a regular full-time degree programme.

“It is wholly unfair for the university to keep this money whilst not paying the lecturers a fair wage or providing us with an education.

“We demand that action is taken regarding these subjects.”

The University of Brighton said that, with the strikes being part of a national movement, there was “no scope for the university to settle this dispute locally”.

A spokesman said: “The University of Brighton has been operating as usual throughout the UCU strike action with the majority of teaching in most of our schools taking place as scheduled.

“Our focus has been on mitigating any impact on our students and we will be taking steps to ensure that none of them are materially disadvantaged by the strike action in terms of their learning and assessment.

“The UCU action is part of a sector-wide rather than a local dispute over pay (and pensions in other universities) which are both negotiated and agreed at a national level.

“As such, there is no scope for the university to settle this dispute locally.

“The university has been working for some time on the important issues flagged by the UCU including gender equality and academic workloads and continues to make good progress in addressing them.”