University lecturers have “overwhelmingly” voted to go on strike over pay, the EIS teaching union has announced.

In a ballot of University Lecturers’ Association (ULA) members, 78.49 per cent voted for strike action as they demand a “fair cost of living pay award”.

A total of 437 lecturers across Scotland voted, with 343 in favour and 94 against.

READ MORE: Twelve Scottish universities to be hit as 7000 take part in eight-day strike

EIS general secretary Larry Flanagan argued lecturers deserve a pay rise to reflect the rising cost of living, say they have suffered a real-terms pay cut of more than 20 per cent since 2010 “while the pay of university principals has soared”.

Mr Flanagan said: “Higher education lecturers have endured years of pay decline.

“Workload is increasing across the sector, placing ever greater strain on lecturing staff who are working harder and longer for ever decreasing pay.

“Scotland’s higher education lecturers are poorly served by UK level negotiations, but they have demonstrated in this result today that they are willing to take a stand and demand a fair pay deal, as has been achieved in Scotland’s schools and in our colleges.”

Strike action is now being planned at the six higher education institutions in Scotland where the threshold was met – Edinburgh Napier University, the University of the West of Scotland, the University of Aberdeen, Strathclyde University, the University of Abertay and Glasgow School of Art.

Under law, at least 50 per cent of eligible members must vote in the ballot for industrial action to be valid.

READ MORE: Scottish university lecturers set to strike over pay and pension disputes

Mr Flanagan added: “EIS-ULA members have voted overwhelmingly for strike action in pursuit of a fair cost of living pay award.

“This action is a last resort and results from management’s unwillingness to negotiate a fair offer.

“We continue to seek a fair negotiated settlement and even at this late stage, we hope that management will come back to the table and deliver a fair cost of living increase.”