‘Lecturers going on strike will not help students in any way,’ says universities minister

UCU boss Jo Grady says strikes are ‘inevitable’

Universities minister Michelle Donelan has come out against the proposed lecturer strikes that are likely to take place this term.

Head of the University and College Union Jo Grady has said that strikes are “inevitable,” with members of the university staff union voting on whether to pursue industrial action last week.

Michelle Donelan told The Tab: “I do not want to see any strikes happening. Students have had such a hard and challenging time over the last 16 months and what we want to see now is a return to as much normality as possible both for an academic side and also a social side.

“Lecturers going on strike will not help students in any way because they will be losing out on valuable teaching time they’re now able to get.”

The proposed industrial action comes as university staff are unhappy with cuts to their pensions as well as precarious contracts.

Lecturers have also expressed concerned about the safety of resuming face-to-face teaching at this time.

Donelan told The Tab: “No university should be restricting face-to-face because of Covid because we are restriction-free and students shouldn’t be treated any differently to the wider population.”

President of the National Union of Students Larissa Kennedy said: “As students, we regularly witness how staff and student’s conditions are intertwined.

“Staff working conditions are student learning conditions and we stand shoulder to shoulder with our educators in fighting for a more just education system. We demand fully funded, accessible, lifelong education where our spaces of teaching and learning belong to the students, staff and communities they exist to serve.

“Until then, it is entirely in the gift of vice chancellors and employers to come to a negotiated settlement and address the fundamental issues repeatedly raised by staff. If they don’t, students will hold employers responsible.”

Related articles recommended by this writer:

• After a year of Covid disruption, lecturer strikes are now ‘inevitable,’ says UCU boss

• University staff are voting on whether they should strike this term

• Unis not doing in-person teaching shouldn’t charge full fees, says Gavin Williamson