‘Lecturers are exhausted and overworked’: What York students think about the strikes

69 per cent of York students support the strikes

With York staff striking for two days last week and set to strike again tomorrow, York students are divided over whether or not they are in support of the lecturer strikes.

A poll on @theyorktab Instagram found that 69 per cent of York students support the strikes whilst 31 per cent of the student are currently annoyed, unhappy and disappointed with the decision to strike. This is compared with last year’s 41 per cent in favour of strikes and 59 per cent opposed.

Many students shared their opinions through these polls with some focusing on the problem of missed content appearing in exams, whilst others believe staff should be supported due to the effort they put into caring about their students. Students noted the fact of lecturers missing out on pay whilst striking, and some highlighted the importance of workers’ rights.

Many other students did express sympathy towards the staff and thus understood their reason for striking, however, ultimately they could not support the strikes this year due to their ineffectiveness and the disruption they have caused.

So here is what York students really think of the strikes:

Ellie Simpson, Politics, second year

Ellie, having seen the effect of the strikes last February, said: “While I understand the reasons behind the strikes, I can see that they are both ineffective and simply causing the deterioration of student-lecturer relations.”

She continued: “I feel let down and disappointed and whilst there is nothing I can do to stop it, my student loan is still what is being spent. It feels like the staff are only impacting the students who have no method of aiding their cause and, as a result, this is just causing a clash and resentment between the staff and students.”

Michael Tamiru, Maths, second year

Similarly, Michael, a second-year maths student said: “I can appreciate the reasoning for the strikes and of course, I stand by that, however, the strikes have not progressed for months and it is affecting students more than it is trying to voice change.” He added: “I think they should resort to other means of informing change as right now they are causing a lot more harm and distribution than good.”

Lily Lawlor, English and Related Literature, second year

Lily, a second-year English student simply said: “I think the strikes do not achieve anything and we pay all this money just so lecturers can have a day off. It doesn’t achieve anything and I don’t agree with it.”

Bryn Hayton, Politics, second year

Bryn expressed his opinion, saying: “I feel that striking is deeply unfair on students who have suffered in recent years. The ones losing out are students. Student loans are still being paid out regardless, so the university will just win regardless.

He continued: “In the current economy, lecturers are paid very well, compared to other jobs that are suffering more, and it’s a privilege that they can even strike anyway, unlike other professions such as the NHS workers, the nurses and paramedics, who have had it worse.”

Other students, however, fully support the strikes and showed solidarity with striking lecturers.

Emilia Chambers, Archaeology, third year

Emilia, a third-year Archeology student showed immense support for the strikes: “I stand in solidarity with all University staff striking. It is obvious to me after nearly three years at York that our lecturers are exhausted and overworked. With the large increase of the student cohort by 2,000 this year and further upcoming plans to expand, I am worried about the stress this unsustainable growth will cause our professors.”

She added: “Alongside the threat of significant pension reduction, I also stand with the staff striking over the enormous racial pay gap at the University. At York, BAME staff earn on average 18.6 per cent less than their white counterparts. This is obviously disgusting and the University needs to be doing more to change this.”

Kimi Eronini, English and Related Literature, second year

Kimi highlighted that “It is so important that as students we support the strike movement because how can we expect a high standard of education if our lecturers don’t have job security and aren’t being compensated for their work?”

“I think it is easy to see it as a staff vs students kind of thing, but we should all stand together in support of workers’ rights and fair pay.”

Anabel Page, Law, second year

Anabel began by saying, “The strikes actually don’t bother me. I understand why and what the staff are striking for and I honestly don’t feel too inconvenienced by it.”

She did note that “It is a bother when the professors do not tell us they are striking and we turn up for lectures and seminars which have been cancelled, especially when we spend the money, effort and time to commute. It would be appreciated if the lecturers told us in advance that they were striking. But, ultimately, I support the strikes as I understand the cause.”

Rebecca Arndt, Philosophy, first Year

Rebecca jokingly admitted: “The strikes are quite well timed as they give me more time to complete essays.”

She also highlighted her support by saying: “As someone who is thinking about a career in academia the strikes and the continued efforts of the University staff unionising will help and make academia more accessible in the future which has been stuffy and elitist for a significant amount of time.”

Related stories recommended by this writer:

Strikes start today, here’s how they will affect you as a York student

University of York lecturers will be striking for three days this month

York offering football-free spaces on campus for students who want to boycott World Cup