From December 1-3, staff across 58 of the 164 UK universities will go on strike, causing an educational frenzy in the lead-up to Christmas and term-time deadlines.

With the strike set to last for three days, workers will rally for better pay, challenge the financial cut to pensions, and fight for better working conditions.

In the wake of the announcement, the University and College Union threatened more strikes into the new year if the government didn’t sort the teaching crisis.

“While we set out pragmatic solutions that could halt widespread disruption to UK campuses, university bosses refuse to revoke unnecessary, swingeing pension cuts or even to negotiate on issues like casualisation and the unbearably high workloads that blight higher education,” said Jo Grady, the UCU’s general secretary.

She added: “A resolution to this dispute is simple. But if employers remain intent on slashing pensions and exploiting staff who have kept this sector afloat during a pandemic, then campuses will face strike action before Christmas, which will escalate into spring with re-ballots and further industrial action.”

Last year, 74 universities went on a 14-day strike over similar issues, to no avail. While staff are striking for a multitude of reasons, a common complaint appears to be the rise in zero-hour contracts and “unmanageable workloads” in the midst of the pandemic.

Speaking to the BBC, Jacob Mukherjee, a media, communications and cultural studies lecturer at Goldsmiths, London, said: “We feel at breaking point. The pandemic caused a mass amount of work. Sometimes when you’ve tried everything else and your backs against the wall, then striking or taking other forms of industrial action is the only option. I would love it if my students took away the message that these things can be fought, and you can win.”

The organisation Universities UK responded to the strike, saying they have plans to minimise the impact the strike will have on students. They also vowed that all students can continue to study as normal, regardless of the disruption.