Manchester, Opinion

Opinion: Will this week’s university strikes really be an issue for students?

0 33

By Amber Bogumil


aAh! Magazine reported this week that many universities across the UK will be striking over staff pensions, pay and working conditions.

Between the 25th November and the 4th December, members of the University and College Union (UCU) will be walking out of work in favour of industrial action. However, many people are asking whether the strikes are just causing more issues for students. They’ll be affecting over 60 Universities, leaving many students with cancelled lectures.

It has also been claimed that students are demanding tuition fee refunds because of the impact of strikes on their education, a move which isn’t new. In 2018, thousands of students signed a petition demanding partial refunds because of lecturers’ strikes. It’s safe to say not all students are ready to sit back and lose out on their education.

The issue is with strikes is that they’ll always inconvenience somebody. And this time, it’s the students who believe they’re missing out on an education they paid for. The debate on whether students are paying too much to go to university is a common one, but to not be able to attend in the first place must, evidently, be frustrating. Not everybody can afford to go to university and then have their classes cancelled.

It’s safe to say not all students are ready to sit back and lose out on their education.

For a lot of students, November and December is also a time for first term assignment deadlines. This often means that extra attention from lecturers is required for students to get the grades they want to achieve. Without that, their grades could suffer.

Besides this, not all lecturers seem to be telling their students whether they plan to strike or not, which, by not knowing whether your teachers are going to even show up makes this week particularly difficult to plan around, particularly for those who commute to university. Of course, all of this disruption is key to the strikes, but is it worth it?

Most lecturers would probably say so. At the end of the day, you can’t take away their chance to stand up for themselves. Because of a series of changes made by the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), university staff will be paying more for their pension but then losing tens of thousands in retirement. The UCU reported that the average member will pay £40,000 more to their pension but get almost £200,000 less back. The staff have a good enough reason to strike and in their shoes, most people would probably do the same.

In order to minimise disruption for students, an open letter was published by Julia Buckingham, president of Universities UK (UUK). She said, “Universities will do all they can to minimise the impact of any strike action on students, their other staff and the wider community and they know that their colleagues contemplating strike action will want this too.”

The thing to consider is if lecturers are really creating this much trouble, then what they’re doing is working. They’re getting noticed, getting their voice heard and clearly the universities are struggling to function the same without them.

There’s no doubt that students should have their lessons rescheduled to make up for what will be lost. It’s unfair for them to suffer for something that doesn’t particularly affect them. But at the same time, university staff might actually be able to make changes for the better and honestly, can we really blame them?

About the author / 

aAh!

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More News Stories:

  • Andy Burnham Grilled Over The Use of Stop and Search on BAME Communities in Manchester

    Manchester Metropolitan University hosted a discussion on ‘The Effects of Stop and Search’ by EQUAL, a criminal justice group supporting racial equality in the criminal justice system on 14th January. Joining the panel was Mayor Andy Burnham, who agreed that stop and search powers in Manchester are being used in a discriminatory manner. Andy Burnham…

  • Film Review: Little Women Is a Classic Tale for the Modern Age

    Greta Gerwig first marched onto the directing scene with her 2017 film Lady Bird, earning great success and critical acclaim for her depiction of the mother-daughter dynamic. Gerwig has now shifted her focus to the bond between sisters in her new adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s literary classic, Little Women, following the lives of the…

  • Live At Leeds 2020: The Top 5 Acts In the Line-Up You Cannot Miss

    With January’s winter blues heavy upon us, it’s time to start looking ahead towards summer. Live At Leeds is coming back with a bang to Leeds city centre on the 2nd of May 2020, boasting headliners such as indie heavyweights DMA’s and alt-rock staples Pale Waves. And if that’s not enough to seal the deal,…

  • Preview: JOHN (TIMESTWO) @ The Deaf Institute

    Crystal-Palace duo JOHN (TIMESTWO) are set to headline The Deaf Institute in Manchester next Wednesday, bringing along the energy and vigour that they are known best for with their savage punk-influenced alt-rock style. JOHN comprises of drummer and vocalist John Newton and guitarist John Healey (hence the band name). However, even though it’s just the…