We asked Leeds students what they had to say about the upcoming strikes

51 per cent of Leeds students are not supporting the strikes

The University of Leeds will be one of 58 institutions going on strike this week, with 75.2 per cent of Leeds University UCU members voting in favour of taking industrial action consisting of strike action.

The three day strike will occur between this Wednesday 1 December and Friday 3 December, with staff working strictly to contract and refusing other duties for the next five months under an “action-short-of-strike” mandate.

Leeds University Union also revealed that it is not supporting UCU’s industrial action, revealing in their statement that “we don’t believe this current strike action is in the best interest of students.”

LUU also added that there will be “added stress, lost learning and delayed teaching” and “those most affected by the strikes will be our marginalised students, specifically our disabled, international and working-class students.”

Despite this, one member of staff reported that “it’s shit going on strike”, as they are not paid and cannot do their jobs. They also feel guilty for disrupting the learning of students, but are striking for the greater good.

They told The Leeds Tab: “It is regrettable that students find themselves in the crossfire of a dispute that is fundamentally not their problem.”

The Leeds University UCU said that they “recommend that you do talk to students” about their intentions to strike, and that staff “will not be paid for the days you strike”.

So, we asked Leeds students what they thought of the strikes

“You’d think after this many consecutive years of strikes the Uni would improve conditions”
“Uni is treating lecturers like shit. Cutting pensions and giving crap contracts.”

Strikes are not uncommon, with the last set occurring in the 2019-20 academic year. However, for current final years, they haven’t had a single year of university that hasn’t been affected.

“We pay too much money already !! COVID already affected our learning”
“I’m paying for this shit”

Students at 58 higher education institutions will be facing the effects from strikes, with mixed opinions around them. From people asking “how dare my lecturers go on strike again?” to the Universities Minister saying that “lecturers going on strike will not help students in any way“, attitudes towards the Strikes are particularly varied.

“Cringe at the students not supporting their lecturers in getting better pay & working conditions”
“Support the cause but strikes don’t work. UCU need to find a new strategy e.g. not marking”

Michelle Donelan, the Universities Minister told The Tab: “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.”

“Why are you punishing students for something they have no control over”
“Their working conditions are our learning conditions”

Jenny* told The Leeds Tab that she felt students have no control over the strikes – and whilst they might support the lecturers, students can’t really do or say anything to resolve the dispute.

Others resonate strongly with the second quote, that Lecturer working conditions directly impact Student learning conditions, therefore students should stand in solidarity with lecturers due to their pensions being cut and the overworked hours they put themselves through.

“I pay too damn much”

£9,250 for a year of online, pre-recorded lectures and then strikes straight after. Many students feel like this, agreeing with Leeds University Union, which said: “In light of the past two years of COVID disruption, previous strike action and ongoing variations to teaching because of COVID concern, strikes right now will inevitably lead to added stress, lost learning and delayed teaching.”

Names marked with a (*) have been changed to preserve anonymity

Related stories recommended by this writer:

• Leeds University Union will not support upcoming UCU strikes

• Leeds Uni to be hit with three days of strikes in December

• The University of Leeds has voted in favour of strike action