Why students should be doing more to support our lecturers in the upcoming strike
We could actually put a stop to it
Cardiff University is set to be affected by strikes led by the UCU (University and College Union) over the upcoming weeks, with many lecturers participating. This leaves thousands of us missing out on hundreds of pounds of our education.
Whilst it's easy for us to hear 'it's something to do with pensions' and get angry about the situation, complaining about our lecturers and how we're going to lose money because of their 'selfishness' won't help in any way.
The USS (Universities Superannuation Scheme ) is a pension scheme that is set up to provide a comfortable retirement for University staff, and it's now under threat. The average lecturer is set to lose around £10,000 a year of their pension due to a rejection of negotiation and a forced decision made by Universities UK, who represent Cardiff University.
Our lecturers wouldn't strike if it wasn't necessary, they've been put in such a difficult position by the University. If they strike, they disappoint us and have a knock-on effect on our education, but if they don't, they risk settling for colossal cuts to their pension, affecting their financial future.
We are losing out massively as students, especially those of us in our final term of our final year with deadlines and dissertations right around the corner. We can get mad, we should get mad, it just needs to be directed towards the right people.
So what can we actually do to help? UCU suggest that first and foremost we write to the appropriate person(s) at our Universities with the help of their template, and make it aware that we are standing with our lecturers. This ultimately puts pressure on them and Universities UK to re-open national negotiations, which if successful prior to the start of them, would prevent the striking.
We can also help by getting the word out in our friendship groups and over social media and urging others to send letters and emails. Not crossing the picket line whilst the strikes are taking place (meaning not going into University buildings, including libraries within schools) is also important and the most basic way to show support. More information on the strike and what we can do is available on the UCU website.
Cardiff University's Student Union has received a number of complaints about the strikes and its effect on our education. In a statement released earlier this week they addressed that they are "communicating these issues directly to the University".
Universities UK and Cardiff University are to blame for this, not our lecturers. If this strike goes ahead as planned then our tuition fees will be wasted. But we can do something about it.
It's important that we, as students, make our voices heard and write to our Vice Chancellor in the hopes that this will make Cardiff University rethink their ludicrous decision.