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‘I’m scared I won’t be able to teach it to myself’: Lancs students opinions on the upcoming UCU strikes

The next wave of strikes start 20th February

The UCU (University and College Union) is planning another round of strikes, set to affect 74 universities across the UK, with Lancaster being one of them. Many will recall the previous strikes at the end of November, this time round however the strikes are due to last a total of 14 days spanning 4 weeks. The strikes are over pay, equality, and workloads amongst various other things. We decided to ask some Lancs students what they though of the strikes and whether they supported them or not.

Francesca, First year, Philosophy

Francesca said "I really support the strike, I think its tackling really important issues and pushing for a change that will positively affect us students in the long term. I think the only issue is when students aren't kept in the loop about what's going on, but most of the lecturers are honest and open about it, and so I fully support them."

Olivia, First year, French and Italian

A similar expression of support was given by Olivia, (French and Italian) who stated "I strongly support them. But, one of my lecturers cant go on strike because in November they did and obviously lost out on money. This time round they just cant afford to lose out on twice as much money, and it breaks my heart."

However, there have been voices of concern from some students and understandably so. With a potential for 14 days worth of content missed out, it's easy to see why some may be apprehensive in voicing complete support in the strikes.

Trina, Second year, Eng lit and creative writing

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One such voicing of concerns came from Trina (English Literature and creative writing) who said "I obviously support the lecturers and I respect that they are still not happy with what is being done for them. However, this time around I am concerned that I am going to miss out on content that I won't be able to teach effectively to myself, as I find that lecturers are very important in consolidating my understanding. I am also going to miss out on a huge chunk of some modules that I am really enjoying and it is disappointing to have to miss out on these."

Becca, Second year, English Lit and creative writing

More concisely expressed, Becca (also English Literature and creative writing) remarked "I support the strikes, but if I wanted to attend Open University, I would."

Chloe, First year, English language and linguistics

Also expressing trepidation was Chloe (English Language and Linguistics) who said "I think the strikes are justified as the lecturers obviously deserve fair pay for their labour, but as students I think we also deserve the education we are paying for".

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Daisy, Third year, Geography

Similarly, Daisy expressed how the strikes have harsher effects on students that are in critical points in their studies, she stated "I'm a third year student and I'm missing the majority of the contact hours in my last teaching term of uni due to the strikes. I fully support why the lecturers are striking but I'm worried about how it's going to affect my third year exams, it's an important year for me and I don't feel adequately prepared for it at all."

Another student who preferred to remain anonymous but was an English Language student stated "I do support the strikes, and I think that us students could be doing more to put pressure on the uni. Asking for compensation for the lost time hits them where it hurts and makes it more likely they will give in. We shouldn't be blaming the lecturers either, it's not their fault they're in this difficult position".

So, the general consensus seems to stand: most students understand and support the strikes to an extent, after all many are aware of the unfair conditions that lecturers are facing. However, that is not to say that a lot are frustrated at the timing of these strikes and anxious over their potential effects on our learning.