Here’s why Bristol students should support their lecturers going on strike

‘This is about challenging the general marketisation of education’

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Okay folks, on January 29th our wonderful lecturers – along with 61 other universities – decided they will, reluctantly, be going on strike for 14-days.

Before you get all huffy and whiny, just know, lecturers take no pleasure in striking and the balloted action will most likely result in pay deduction. The action is happening, because the proposed changes are far, far worse long-term than the blowback and immediate impact of striking.

Let’s break down exactly what is going on here:

The entire dispute is a long-standing battle about pensions. The USS (Universities Superannuation Scheme) is a national pension scheme for employers in Higher Education and pre-1992 universities. They provide compensation for “modest salaries” which in turn attract some of the best teaching staff globally. About 190,000 staff are members of USS and rely on them to ensure they can afford to live after working for our educational institutions.

Recently, the USS have run into financial trouble leading to the largest gap between assets and liabilities in the UK. In order to manage the deficit the USS is proposing a change in the scheme model. This will mean replacing the ‘defined benefit’ with a ‘defined contribution’ for salaries under £55,000. So the TEA is, instead of a guaranteed sustainable income after retirement, income will now depend on returns from investments in the unpredictable stock markets.

The problem is:

-This is risky AF.

-A typical lecturer would lose £200,000 in retirement.

-We’d stop attracting amazingly talented people into education.

-USS is already offering a bottom of the barrel benefits scheme, far worse than other schemes available in universities. The UUK’s proposals would make matters worse to be honest.

So why should I even support this, I’m a student this is none of my business?


These changes may result in the loss of future teaching talent and may even deter students like yourselves from getting into the profession!

Everybody gotta eat! These changes may cause demoralisation and demotivation amongst staff who rightly feel that they should be compensated adequately for their dedication to their work?

Also are you telling me that if your pension were about to be cut by 40 per cent you would not resist? If you say no YA LYING!

This is MORE than protesting a pensions dispute, this is about challenging the general marketisation of education that we’re seeing taking place across the sector. BE ABOUT IT. STAY WOKE.

If you are impassioned by this article and want to know more, come along to the Why Is My Lecturer Striking event and hear the views and opinions of teaching staff and students. I think it is fair to say that it is in the best interests of students that their teaching staff are treated properly so we should really rally behind them.

Chante Joseph is the Chair of Bristol Labour Students and the Chair of the BME Network. She is the founder of ‘Bristol Is The New Black’ and tweets @chantayyjayy.