Since starting university in 2017, I have been faced with two instances of striking. The first was at the start of my first year, with the main developments occurring in February and March 2018. At the time, I knew little about it and didn’t really educate myself about the reasons behind the strikes – I just thought it was inconvenient for the final year students. Now I am that final year. I am sat as a third year, unable to contact my dissertation tutor or any of my lecturers as they are all striking. Yet it isn’t me and my peers who I think are being treated unfairly.
It is ridiculously easy to moan and complain about the fact that we are losing crucial teaching time and access to what we are paying for. I sit in lecture theatres full of moaning students and by no means am I denying our right to complain. We absolutely should be, it is our prerogative. However, there is no point complaining to the lecturers. These strikes are their last resort. We should be complaining to the people who can make change, the people in charge.
Universities are businesses, the same as any other. The workforce dissatisfying the consumer is the main way they can get attention from the big bosses, just in this scenario the service being lost is higher education.
It is abundantly clear that our university staff feel passionately about these strikes just from a look at statistics; 79% of UCU members voting on the issue regarding the USS and pensions voted in favour of strike action. 74% of members who voted also voted in favour of strike action on the subject of pay, casualisation, equality and workloads. Whilst we may not understand the importance of the proposed cuts, some younger staff were last year faced with the possibility that they could effectively lose half of their pensions.
It is true that we can argue that these strikes have a negative effect on us and our futures, but a week’s worth of content being missed is nothing in comparison to what these lecturers are having to face. Try to show your support and push for change. If we aren’t happy with what we are facing, then we need to approach the people that can make change. Stand in solidarity with your lecturers.