In the last few weeks, the Universities and College Union (UCU) voted in favour of strike action following a breakdown of talks between the UCU and Universities UK (UUK) over lecturers’ pensions. Now, it’s been confirmed that Leicester will suffer from strike action, starting on Thursday 22nd February. Again, what am I paying £9000 for?
Now, before you run into your next lecture calling the professor a heretic, it’s best to understand that all departments have been feeling the squeeze as much as students. Government cutbacks have made it less appealing to work in the academic environment and Brexit has had the effect of dissuading European lecturers from joining UK universities. Further, students are demanding more from their lecturers under the assumption that paying more means getting more out of university. All this has accumulated in the universities needing to cut back on spending more, and the lecturers yearning for a remotely comfortable retirement.
How does this affect Leicester students? Well, there will be a series of walkouts as follows:
- Thursday 22nd February to Tuesday 27th February
- Monday 5th March to Thursday 8th March
- Monday 12th March to Friday 16th March
Unless the UCU and UUK can come to an agreement, it’s likely the strikes will severely disrupt students’ contact hours, even if you only have up to 10 hours a week.
Of course, we as students can only hope that our lecturers will be kind enough to prepare for this eventuality and will provide lectures online and extra contact hours in the weeks preceding.
In my opinion, the strikes are just another example of how the government is failing universities, their staff and students alike. The future for both groups look economically bleak. I certainly don’t enjoy the prospect of missing some of my education (that I’m likely to pay for for the next thirty years) through no fault of my own.