University Strike: Action Over Pay and Pensions

Thousands of lecturers and other supporting staff from different UK universities are striking over pay cuts, increased pension costs and deteriorating conditions.

Students across the UK are facing disruption as more than 60 universities lecturers and staffs started an eight-day strike, affecting almost half of all UK universities.

Union leaders also showed their support to the strike which started on Monday, asking for rapid industrial action and declaring that there would be further strike action if their demands are not fulfilled.

More than 40,000 lecturers, technicians, librarians and other academic and support staff are taking part in the strike.

Mass demonstrations are also being held in Newcastle upon Tyne, Bristol and Manchester.

The University and College Union (UCU) said talks were under way with the institutions and many lecturers are offering alternative teach-outs for their students.

In addition to striking, union members are taking other forms of industrial action, including working strictly to contract, not covering for absent colleagues and refusing to reschedule lectures lost during the strikes.

Angela Rayner, the shadow education secretary promised to “end the scandal of chancellors getting extortionate pay while people at the other end of the pay scale have to use food banks, which is absolutely disgusting and disgraceful.”

Kate Green, the Labour candidate for the Greater Manchester constituency of Stretford and Urmston, urged Nancy Rothwell, Manchester’s vice-chancellor to listen to the concerns of staffs and lecturers.

Seth Schindler, a senior lecturer in urban development, said, “The university is raiding our pension pot while investing millions of pounds in real estate deals.”

“They are renting space to fast food restaurants while claiming they don’t have enough money to properly fund pensions or equal pay for women and black and minority ethnic staff,” he added.

Dr Claire Marris staff of London’s City University said, “I’m going on strike because I really care about the education that we deliver to our students and I feel our working conditions are being eroded.”

Lucy, a master’s broadcast journalism student, said, “I’m angry because I’ve paid all this money for this course… it makes it seem that this course is not important. Obviously, I do understand why they are striking… I do understand but there are different ways of going about it… I just don’t think that’s fair.”

University employers said that they are working to come to a conclusion about the strike.

> Dipto Paul



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