Why are the UCU Members resolving to strike action? For several years, members have been in dispute nationally around two key areas – increased pension reductions and the Four Fights (equality, pay, workload, casualisation). In particular, the strike action is occurring due to falling pay (that lecturers and University Staff receive), the gender and ethnic pay gap, precarious employment practices, and unsafe workloads.
By taking strike action, UCU Members are trying to protect their guaranteed pensions, and gain a better work environment as reflected in their pay. The action that taken by University’s staff was supported by 73% of students, as inequalities in the workplace are mentally, emotionally, and financially damaging. But if the strikes go ahead as planned how does this affect us – the students?
With interruptions to studies posed by Covid and subsequent lockdowns, the news that more disruptions are happening are going to be tough. With many who already have deadlines or projects to work towards, this is going to be a stressful Semester – to say the least. During the strikes this will mean fewer contact hours and potentially more self-independent study. If the strike is successful, then could this potentially result in an increased tuition fee for University Students.
This would be extremely frustrating, considering that UK students are already paying over 9,000 pounds per year for the education that we are getting (and international and EU students more so). The prospect of paying more money for a university education is daunting for many students, whilst also potentially barring many future students from even considering Higher Education.
Ideally, strike action is always the last option. Negotiations should be efficient enough for Senior University Staff and the UCU to come to an agreement. So what can be done now – by you – to resolve the strike action from happening, but still showing your support for your dedicated University lecturers? Email the University’s Vice-Chancellor to ask for fresh negotiations, sign the online petition to show solidarity with UCU’s demands. But if strikes do go ahead, further your support by visiting the picket lines on strike days.