Over 70,000 university staff in Britain to strike for 18 days over pay

University of Liverpool staff and students attend a rally, during a day of strike action, in Liverpool

LONDON (Reuters) - More than 70,000 staff at 150 universities across the UK will strike for 18 days between February and March in disputes over pay, working conditions and pensions, the University and College Union (UCU) said on Thursday.

"The clock is now ticking for the sector to produce a deal or be hit with widespread disruption throughout spring," UCU general secretary Jo Grady said.

The union, which represents academics, trainers, librarians and professional staff in colleges and universities, said it was demanding better pay after employers set a pay rise worth 3% following more than a decade of below-inflation pay awards.

As the country grapples with double-digit inflation, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is under pressure to resolve a wave of industrial actions in Britain that began last year.

The strikes have involved hundreds of thousands of workers and repeatedly disrupted key services like healthcare and rail transport.

(Reporting by Sachin Ravikumar; Editing by Mark Porter)