Strike with our lecturers!

Matthew Lacey writes about ways of supporting the UCU strike action.

Matthew Lacey
24th November 2019
Newcastle Campus - Wikimedia Commons
Of Newcastle University's UCU members, 85% were in favour of strike action over proposed USS pension reform, while unfair working conditions and pay rates led to 78% voting for striking.

The union has requested that universities respond positively and swiftly to avoid upcoming strike action planned from Monday 25 November to Wednesday 4 December. The dispute is based on unfair changes to the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) and the universities' failure to implement improvements on equality, pay, workloads and casualisation of the work force.

Students should support striking lecturers as the attack on their rights continues

We as students should support our striking lecturers as the attack on their rights continues. Some of us will be working as lecturers in the future; we must unite to ensure not just our current lecturers are treated with the dignity, respect and fairness that they deserve, but also that we are assured this in future.

Mass casualisation has led to mass uncertainty

The mass casualisation of workers across the university has led to mass uncertainty. This is disgraceful, especially at one of the most elite and prosperous universities in the world. To have workers facing the decision to strike for their rights, in a profession to which they have dedicated their lives, is indicative of just how necessary the strike is. Also vital is the need to stand together to improve the working and living conditions of all those in need of support.

How to support your lecturers

There are several personal and holistic ways for students to support their striking lecturers. If you want to express support, then tell your mates, fellow students and striking lecturers that you are firmly behind the strike action. Do not cross picket lines on the planned days of strike action: join your lecturers and fellow protesting students in solidarity. You should support any motion put to the Newcastle University Student Council and become a voting member at council for any further motions supporting lecturers and the rights of oppressed persons on campus.

You should write to your MP and our Vice-Chancellor Chris Day to express support for our striking lecturers, and to ask him to express support for our lecturers and the university's workers who create the vast profits generated by the institution. The university bosses must take a new, fresh approach to negotiations with the UCU and workers, ensuring the university's workers are given the respect they deserve. If you can, donate to the UCU, which provides the support that is vitally needed, especially at this time.

University profits should be shared fairly between the bosses and the workers

 The mass profits raised by universities should be shared out fairly between bosses of institutions and workers, leading to a more cohesive and civil institution, like Newcastle University used to be.

Solidarity to all those embarking on strike action upcoming at Newcastle University and country from Monday 25 November!

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