Bristol Uni ‘only have themselves to blame’: UCU strikes begin despite downpours

Bristol UCU has come out in force in protest of low wages and pensions.

Bristol University and College Union (UCU) members went on strike yesterday amidst wet weather.

Protestors, most of which were academic staff, set up picket lines at multiple university buildings with the main congregation meeting outside of the victoria Rooms.

UCU members are protesting against pay, working conditions and pensions following an inadequate three per cent rise and a staggering 35 per cent cut to pension funds. 

In a statement, UCU General Secretary Jo Grady said: “University Staff have had enough of falling pay, pension cuts and gig-economy working conditions – all whilst vice-chancellors enjoy lottery win salaries.

“Staff are burnt out, but they are fighting back and they will bring the whole sector to a standstill. Vice-chancellors only have themselves to blame. Their woeful leadership has led to the biggest vote for strike action ever in our sector.”

Thursday signalled the start of three days of strikes following an overwhelming vote in favour of industrial action in October.

The nationwide walkout is the largest in history with an estimated 2.5 million students being affected.

Speaking to the BBC, lecturer in comparative literature and cultures Alexandra Reza said: “Overworked, underpaid, precarious staff can’t deliver excellent education to students.

“People go into teaching at university not because they think they’re going to make loads of money. We go in because we love research and we love teaching and we love our students. It’s just very hard when that goodwill and love we have is worn down.”

UCU members will strike today and Monday, with a university blackout planned for the 25th.

For more information on strikes visit the UCU website. 

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