Union Strikes – Are You Concerned?
As many of you will be aware, there is a scheduled strike of Unison and other union members on Wednesday 28th November leading to many lectures being cancelled. For many, […]
As many of you will be aware, there is a scheduled strike of Unison and other union members on Wednesday 28th November leading to many lectures being cancelled. For many, this just means a guilt-free visit to Sobar or Orange Rooms on the Tuesday evening. But for the keen and more hardworking of the student body, how do the strikes affect you?
As a 3rd yr geographer, missing out on just one of my double lectures means missing a third of all contact time for that week (debateable whether this is an argument concerned with strikes or contact hours!) So how do the lecturers within these unions justify their strike action?
The strike is set to involve twenty public sector trade unions (including local government staff, NHS workers, teachers etc) who are angry over governmental changes to pension schemes. The argument for these strikes and for unions is that ultimately it means workers are exploited less and that the benefits of the job are received by the workers, not just the ‘top dog’. Seems like a fair deal.
However, we all saw what the streets of Portswood ended up like after refuse collection suffered from strikes. Although I highly doubt that a one day strike of lecturers would affect our degrees to the extent that the cleanliness of the streets was affected by the lack of refuse collection, a strike is a strike and this one will undoubtedly have knock on effects. Whether it be impacting the structure of a module; the hassle rescheduling lectures; missing out on a lecture completely or leading to a longer walk around Hartley trying to find a table because everyone’s in the library rather than in a lecture, there will be consequences.
Speaking to fellow students, some appear slightly concerned by the cancellation of a lecture, but the overwhelming majority couldn’t seem to care less and are more enthralled by the prospect of a lie in (or an extra couple of hours in Hartley for those coursework ridden third years) than concerned over a) a lecturers future pension or b) missing out on a lecture that will be put up on blackboard anyway.
The level of concern you show for these strikes is personal. Whether you take a selfish view, like me, and think missing a lecture because of a hangover is fair enough but strike action will put your grade prospects in impending doom or if you are more selfless and respect that people have the right to strike and that unions are a good thing (after all, you may be a part of one soon), most of you will have a day off on Wednesday, I suggest you use it wisely.