With lecturers having announced a number of strike days coming up throughout both February and March, our own Sports Editor, Jasmine Trapnell, reports on the situation and the feeling among the university students affected.

The Universities and Colleges Union (UCU) has announced that lecturers will strike again for 18 days across February and March, having started Wednesday 1st February, with the rest of the strike dates yet to be confirmed. Staff are striking for a meaningful pay rise to ease the cost of living; to end the use of insecure contracts; and are demanding that universities revoke cuts to pensions and restore the benefits.

We have already seen 3 days of UCU strikes this academic year and last academic year we saw up to 18 days of strikes over 140 universities including Loughborough University.

Jo Grady, the UCU general secretary, said “Today our union came together to back an unprecedented programme of escalating strike action. The clock is now ticking for the sector to produce a deal or be hit with widespread disruption throughout spring.

“Whilst the cost-of-living crisis rages, university vice-chancellors are dragging their feet and refusing to use the vast wealth in the sector to address over a decade of falling pay, rampant casualisation and massive pension cuts.

“On 1 February, 70,000 university staff will walk out alongside fellow trade unions and hundreds of thousands of other workers to demand their fair share.”

Universities gave a 3 per cent pay rise this year, but with inflation currently over 10 per cent this is not enough. However, the people being affected by this the most are students. The students who have lost a lot of crucial education contact time over the last 2 years due to Covid-19, many of whom were already at university during the pandemic and paying fees.

Student maintenance loans are also not matching inflation, with maintenance loans only being increased by 2.3% next academic year. Many students already struggle with money at university, with this inadequate increase of maintenance loans this will only cause more students to struggle in the battle against the cost of living.

The rise of maintenance loans is less than that of university staff salaries, and students will be missing out on the education they are paying for due to strikes. So, is this really the best action for the UCU to take?

An anonymous student from Loughborough University has said “I respect that lecturers strike for pay rises etc because a lot of them do go above and beyond for their students. But I will say, it is hypocritical of lecturers to strike when they pull up to campus in their Tesla’s and Mercedes. I think there are definitely ways around these strikes that don’t allow for missed education that we’re paying for.”

Students have also expressed their opinions on the UCU strikes on social media, with many being frustrated by the affects this will have on them. But lots of students whilst frustrated, do support the strike.

Edited by Zoe Powell (News and Politics Editor)

Designed by – Jasmine Trapnell (Sports Editor)


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