Higher Education Union strike

CHESTER University faced disruption last week (Tuesday) after many students and staff went on strike for the second time. 

The University and College Union (UCU) abandoned duties on October, 31, and then again on December, 3, over an increasingly bitter battle over pay.

The original strike at the end of October was the first UK wide-joint strike between higher education unions. It centred around the offer of a one percent pay rise for the year which means an overall pay cut of 13 percent since October 2008.

Alongside a lack of teaching taking place over the two days, students were encouraged not to attend lectures or seminars and support their lecturers on the picket line. There was also a call for all university facilities such as libraries and computer suites to be avoided.

Strike action has caused disruption to students in Chester. Picture by: ucu.org.uk

Strike action has caused disruption to students in Chester.
Picture by: ucu.org.uk

The Winter edition of the UCU newsletter stated: “Chester saw the strongest showing of solidarity for a long time and sent a clear message to the employer that we are working together to protect each other and our rights.”

Strike action has long been a legitimate way of unions getting their voices heard but many students felt they were being unfairly punished over a matter they had no control over. Ellenor Gaskell, 21, said: “All my lectures on both days were cancelled. I missed out on a big chunk of work which I think is unfair. We don’t have say say over lecturers pay yet we are the ones who are, ultimately, suffering from the action.”

As of yet there has been no confirmation of the success of the strikes or whether there will be any further action taken. For more information on the UCU, their principles and how to join the union, visit:
http://www.ucu.org.uk/1680

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