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Day One: UCU Strikes

Day One of University and College Union Strikes.

The first day of University and College Union (UCU) strikes has seen action in 60 universities across the UK. The planned action comes ahead of pay cuts, increased pension costs, deteriorating working conditions and overwhelming concerns about casualisation within higher education institutions.

79% of UCU members supported strike action in the ballot over changes to the USS pension scheme. Following research from the First Actuarial, a typical member will pay around £40,000 extra to their pension, and receive nearly £200,000 less in retirement making them £240,000 worse off in total. Furthermore, 74% of members backed strikes on casualisation, pay, equality and workloads.

Daniel, a Phd Student and Teaching Affiliate, told Impact:

“Casualisation is a symptom of the wider marketisation of education. The university is taking three times as much money from students and they have the cheek to say they can’t afford to provide the working conditions necessary for students to get the education they deserve.”

A mass of 60-70 people joined the picket line at West Entrance on the border of University Park. Chants, cheers and discussion kicked off 8 days of planned action. In solidarity, staff and students openly engaged in issues such as the precarious work contracts offered through Unitemps, unsustainable workloads and pay gaps associated with gender, race and disability.

Primarily, the UoN’s Students’ Union and the National Union of Students has announced support of the strike action. Moreover, on the picket line, the first day of strikes saw support from UoN Labour students, Nottingham Trent Labour students and the Left Society. As well as this, parliamentry candidates, Nadia Whittome for Nottingham East, and Greg Marshall for Broxtowe, joined the picket line in solidarity.

Koshka Duff, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, told Impact:

“A strike is when we, the workers, refuse to carry on doing the huge of amounts of work on which ‘business as usual’ depends. This is meant to be disruptive of the ordinary running of things because the ordinary running of things is unjust and unsustainable. The fact that this is disruptive reveals just how much work we usually do.”

Ellie Stainforth-Mallison

Sources:
https://www.ucu.org.uk/article/10460/Solid-support-for-strikes-sends-clear-message-to-universities
https://www.ucu.org.uk/article/10269/University-staff-balloting-for-pension-strikes-240000-worse-off-as-costs-rise-and-benefits-cut

Featured image courtesy of University and College Union via Facebook.

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