Staff across the country are going on strike, totalling at 54 universities. From 1st to 3rd of December, they will be taking action against unstable short-term contracts, falling pay and a 35% cut to pensions.
Across the UK, one-third of all academic staff are employed on short (often 1 year or less) contracts where they lose their jobs at the end of this period. For them, it means having to spend months in order to apply to new positions. Remember when you applied for uni? Imagine having to do that every year just to secure a living. For students, this also means that your lecturers’ and TAs cannot dedicate time to ensuring a high quality of teaching.
WHAT ABOUT THE PANDEMIC – IS THIS YEAR “DIFFERENT”?
Although the National Union of Students has issued a statement in support of the strikes, some Students Unions have unfortunately opposed it without asking students’ views. Many have often cited the pandemic as the reason this year was “different”. Yet what is different is that many of our universities are richer than ever, yet they still want to make our teachers poorer. This year, universities have had a record number of students, but with only small parts of the Higher Education budget spent on teaching and support staff.
A massive amount is spent on management salaries and fancy new buildings that we won’t even get to see for years. A huge part of this is the corporatisation of universities, driven by the Tories’ decade long defunding of education, leading them to behave like profit-making companies. The chaos of the pandemic is the clear failure of that same government which has failed to properly fund the NHS and peddled unscientific lies about the virus – not of teachers who are also suffering and wanting a living wage.
HOW YOU CAN SUPPORT THE STRIKE:
- If you see a picket where staff protest to raise awareness of their action, stand in solidarity with them and do not cross it. Join your teachers!
- Talk to and email your lecturers and TAs. Tell them you support their decision to strike.
- If your Students Union hasn’t supported the strike, clear ‘solidarity with the strike’ votes should be built for, with campaigns to expose the lack of support. They must be made to represent us and our voices!
- Write to your uni management. We also deserve quality teaching, which can only be done by well-paid and cared for staff.
- Educate others on the strike. Show them this leaflet, get involved with your local student strike support group and mobilise your classmates and those in your halls to organise and join protests to maximise pressure on management.
Teaching conditions are learning conditions!
For a fully publicly funded, democratically controlled education system!
WHO ARE WE?
Student Socialist Alternative is the student organisation of Socialist Alternative. We are linked with International Socialist Alternative – a global revolutionary and Marxist organisation, based in 30 countries across the world. From movements of workers on strike, to mass protests against gender violence, racism and all oppression, we fight alongside all those entering into struggle, and for a world rid of capitalist misery.
In our ranks are young workers, students and activists of all ages. If you want to learn more about how you can get involved, contact us on the details below!