We spoke to UoL students about their feelings towards the UCU strike

Spoiler alert: they’re not happy

After already enduring strikes for two weeks in November and December, students at the University of Liverpool are faced with even more industrial action between 20th February and 13th March.

Whatever their subject of study and whatever their year group, it’s undeniable that most students are becoming increasingly frustrated over the strikes and their effects on studies.

Whether it’s concerns over the lack of tuition fee compensation, or the added stress of static deadlines despite decreased teaching hours, The Liverpool Tab spoke to students about their qualms with striking lecturers and here’s what they had to say:

Some feel like the whole point of attending uni is to build on our knowledge and use it in exams to ultimately achieve a degree. This first-year student seems to think so too, telling The Liverpool Tab: “It’s so inconvenient, it feels like we’ll be missing out on important depth work for coursework and exams!”

A second-year Biomedical student explained her frustration about how the strikes will affect her, even after university: “The thought of having to pay back money after uni for content that I didn’t even receive is just ridiculous.

“It’s not just about the exams and grades; as a science student, I miss out on content and being taught concepts that I will need for potential future jobs. We are regularly taught by guest lecturers, and if they strike then we just miss out on this information.”

Industrial action seems to affect different students in different ways as well, with an English Literature student explaining how tutorials are vital for them to improve their understanding of the subject through discussions with tutors and other students in real life.

They added: “I rely on contact time with tutors in tutorials and at least six of these classes have been cancelled due to strike action, which is around 25 per cent of all my tutorials this semester. It’s crazy, and some tutors have refused to see us in any capacity during the strikes.”

As third-year students stress out over looming deadlines and dissertations, they feel the strikes could not have come at a worse time.

One student who is due to graduate in summer 2020 has had to miss a substantial amount of uni since they started: “If you work out the number of weeks that I’ve missed because of strikes it amounts to a whole semester, which is 12 weeks. That’s half a year of uni and half of £9,000 that I won’t get back.”

Despite these frustrations, students are still standing by their lecturers who are generally striking over changes to their pensions, precarious contracts and the continued gender pay gap. Striking is often considered a last resort by university staff, and they are doing so to protect our educational institutions, after all.

That’s why second-year student, Lottie Gilman, has decided to form a petition calling for compensation directly from UoL due the effects of the strike on students. She said she “100% stands with the lecturers” and that her anger is directed towards the uni itself.

She has compared the strike situation to a video streaming subscription: “If Netflix went down for a week, we’d all be refunded as we’re paying for a service that we cannot use, so why are the uni not doing the same?” Once you view the strikes and their effects on university students in this way, it’s incomprehensible why UoL is not doing more to support students, and ultimately the union workers who feel forced into striking.

If you want to sign the petition, you can do so here.

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