A question for my fellow students at the University of Leicester: do you support your lecturers taking strike action last week and over the next couple of weeks (assuming a resolution is not found soon)?
More information about the industrial action can be found at the following link:
I am the first to concede that this is a very difficult issue. Nobody wants to see lecturers (or most people) have their pensions cut by such large amounts. Particularly at a time when universities are receiving huge incomes from tuition fees and the salaries of vice-chancellors and other senior staff seem to be constantly increasing. I therefore have sympathy with the difficult position that lecturers are in and desperately hope that a solution is found so that they do not lose out financially.
Having read the previous paragraph, you might think that I am totally supportive of the strike. You would be mistaken.
I am against industrial action for two reasons. Firstly, the risk of disruption to studying. When walking back from the library earlier, I heard a student make a very perceptive comment: “To partially make up for missed lectures, I can just do more reading. But I might not understand as much and certainly not as quickly!”
A good lecturer is simultaneously an effective communicator and an excellent storyteller. They take the information from the textbooks and the journals and they break the material down into key points, concepts and theories. Furthermore, by presenting the material in a logical order, they make it easier to engage with complicated ideas. That is why they should not strike: missing these lectures could make a big difference to students, especially those in their final year.
However, my opposition to strikes is universal. To me, they are morally wrong. And apologies if I upset the Labour Party, but I want strikes to be illegal.
Because they always hurt the innocent.
When doctors strike, it is patients who die. When train drivers and guards strike, it is the ordinary general public who cannot get to work. And when lecturers strike, it is students who suffer the consequences.
That’s just three examples. I could name dozens more but I think you get my point. I doubt many will agree with it.
I hope that the dispute is resolved soon and the strike is cancelled. But more than that, I hope that lecturers never strike again. Current and perspective students at the University of Leicester and other institutions across the country deserve better.