no catch up sessions, no cover and no rescheduling
Lecturers from the UCU union are set to strike for one whole month in response to changes to their pension, they will walk out for a total of fourteen days, dramatically disrupting university life as 61 top universities are set to be involved in this large-scale industrial action.
The reasoning for the strike is based on pension schemes, according to the UCU, lecturers from Red Brick Universities will be on average £385,000 worse off than lecturers from Polytechnics. Lecturers are hoping that the length of their strike will highlight the severity of their current pension scheme and how it will affect their retired life, income and overall ability to retire at a suitable age.
However, the strike has been met with a mixture of emotions from students, with some even feeling that they are being exploited by lecturers to meet their own ends. Other students feel that their studies will be dramatically affected by the strike, a service that they are paying £9000 a year for.
Students at The University of Manchester and Cardiff have called for compensation, with over five hundred students from Manchester signing a petition to receive up to £300 for the lectures and seminars they are being denied.
In the wake of all this controversy, we thought here at Student Life Guide that we should ask some students and graduates what they think about the strike, whether they support it, hate the idea of it, or are simply a little disgruntled by the disruption.
Harry, 20, student
I’m not sure how I feel. I’m sure lectures are being f**ked over but it does seem like students are being exploited a bit!
Stacey, 21, student
I think it’s outrageous! So obviously using students as a means to achieve their own goals when we have nothing to do with the original conflict in the first place.
I know that the petition won’t make any difference other than highlighting the fact that students are annoyed; I am glad that someone started it however as it was starting to feel like we were the ones who would be most affected we were also the ones expected to just go along quietly with it!
James, 21, student
In principle, it is definitely right for staff to strike over cuts to their pensions. But I think university managements are the ones responsible and they should either offer better terms to lecturers or be putting measures in place to mitigate the academic impact of the loss of teaching time on students since we are paying massively increased fees year on year
Tom, 19, student
I am ambivalent about everything, (I have no idea what my stance is!) I feel like I don’t know enough about it tbh… If they lose up to 50% of their pension (which apparently could be a consequence of the strike) what does that actually mean? Does that money go to a better cause? Are lecturers already wadded? How much do lecturers earn?
Obviously, people are very passionate (on both sides and I understand why) which can sometimes make it even harder to work out what is going on!
Mike, 20, student
It’s really bad that students are losing out and historically strikes haven’t always been effective, but with the number of people, this will effect they might cave!
Lucy, 20, student
I am always up for industrial action, you do what you want if you feel like you are being taken for granted. Yet in this instance, it is hard to not get frustrated, this is my degree, and in this case, I am being taken for granted.
Daisy, 24, graduate
In my opinion, the money should be claimed for as the walkout is due to a failure in management leading to suffering on the part of paying customers, namely students. Placing it in another context, a purchased service being denied would not go without reimbursement and higher education institutions must remember that what they deliver first and foremost is paid for the product of education.
But to follow this, I think a demand for reimbursement should be placed in the context of union action and support. Union activity is important, union power important. So, pursue the money, support lecturer dissent.
Tom, 18, student
Of course, I’m super annoyed, I already feel like university is a complete rip off, but it’s important to understand that I would do exactly what the lecturers are doing if I was in their position, no one deserves to be screwed over like they are being, they are losing so much money. So, yeah, it’s annoying, but I can’t blame them.
Sophie, 19, student
No no no no no! I am tired of university being a constant expectation for me to just teach myself. My lecturer is going on strike and told me I was welcome to use the empty theatre during this time, oh yeah, I just sit there and imagine I’m being educated, what a joke!
Lee, 22, graduate
It’s difficult, but the main people to blame are the ones messing around with people’s pensions and people’s livelihoods, hopefully they will soon realise that by doing that, they are directly affecting paying students, some of who are in the final months of their degree and need all the help that they can get.
There has certainly been a mixture of responses to the strike, yet it is hard to ignore the fact that the majority of people talked to by Student Life Guide are simply annoyed, angry and frustrated, some can, of course, sympathise with the lecturers, yet mostly, a lot of disgruntled people.
Concerning reimbursement and compensation, universities such as Manchester and Cardiff have simply commented that they will take into account the direct effect of the strike on students and treat each case individually.
For a strike which promises no catch-up sessions, no cover and no rescheduling, are students being the brunt of the joke here? Or do we need to support our lecturers over this strike?