Lecturer Strike: “What makes this university great is the people who work in it”
With lecturers on strike across the country, The Tab went to the North Entrance to speak to Howard Stevenson, the President of University College Union’s Nottingham branch.
While Notts students have been enjoying their days off, lecturers up and down the UK have been protesting against what they believe to be a 30% decline in the value of their pay.
Howard Stevenson, President of Nottingham’s University College Union (UCU) branch, told The Tab:
“We’re striking because the pay rise that has been offered to us this year by the employers is in real terms another pay cut. It is the assessment of the Union that, across the University sector, there is the money to fund a decent pay rise this year.”
“What we are looking for is a pay rise which reverses the decline in our real pay.”
Following the increase in tuition fees, it was believed that there would be a collapse in the number of students wanting to go to university.
This collapse has failed to materialise, though, and the UCU consequently believes that universities are in a strong enough financial position to make a “decent pay reward” for its staff.
“We believe it [the strike] is in the interests of students,” said Stevenson.
“In this country we have a world-class higher education system, and that system has been created by the people who work in it.
” If Universities don’t pay salaries which can recruit and retain high-calibre staff, then it could be increasingly difficult to maintain that reputation.
“We really don’t want to be doing this. What we want to do is resolve the dispute as quickly as we can. Clearly this is an issue of our members protecting the value of their pay.
“At the end of the day, what makes this university a great university is the people who work in it.”
There have been mixed reactions from students to the strike. Some are obviously delighted at the day off but others are more concerned about missing important work.
Joseph Sammarco, a History student, didn’t have any lectures today but said: “They have the right to strike and I don’t think one day affects anyone too badly.”
Meanwhile, Psychology student Sia Raigal said that she thought it was a “shame” that some students had their lectures cancelled, and said that many people “could struggle to catch up on the work they’ve missed.”
Third year student Josh Dorr agrees, saying: “I think it’s ridiculous that despite each student having to pay 300% more per year for their degrees nowadays, we now have to deal with lecturer strikes. That said, lecturers clearly aren’t seeing any of this wealth that is going into universities, so I think that needs to change.”
What do you think? Let us know in the comments section below.