How Will The University Lecturers’ Strike Affect Students?

'Every lecturer I have is on strike...'

University Lecturers Begin Strikes Over Pensions

by Sorcha Hornett |
Published on

University staff at more than 50 universities have begun picketing on campuses after a dispute on pensions. University bosses are under intense pressure from the government to try and end the strikes that have bought widespread disruption to campuses across the UK.

Lecturers and other university staff across the country are staging a protest against changes to their pensions. There have been changes to the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) which will leave a typical lecturer almost £10,000 a year worse off in retirement. The proposed pension plan means the USS will change from a defined benefit scheme, giving members a guaranteed income in retirement, to a defined contribution scheme, where pensions are subject to changes in the stock market.

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Lecturers and staff feel that they have been left with no chance but to strike because of the refusal to compromise. And even students who are in support of the strike fear being left high and dry in the final semester before exams. It becomes a major disruption to their studies and students are still being examined on lectures.

Natasha Challenor, 20, a student at University of Leeds said: 'My lectures that have been cancelled are still being examined in without being actually taught, so my grades are going to be affected by the striking.'

Livvy Day, 20, a student at University College London said: 'Every lecturer I have is on strike which means almost no lectures for three and a half weeks! For some modules, I’m missing three weeks worth of lectures with obviously affects the content that we cover in exams, although that does mean three weeks to revise so it isn’t all bad! But there are lots of other effects too, such as not being able to contact lecturers if we need coursework help.'

Students also took to twitter to express their concerns:

The action is the biggest ever seen in UK universities. The strike is set to continue today and is set to last 14 days, spread out over a month across 65 universities. If a solution is not found then staff are threatening to extend the dispute to disrupt final-year exams and graduation ceremonies.

'I am deeply concerned about the impact this strike will have on students, who deserve to receive the education that they are paying for. For many, this is a vital time in their studies,' said Sam Gyimah, the universities minister.

As a student myself, I'm in support of the reasons why lecturers are striking, the change to their pensions is definitely something that deserves to be debated. But, when we're paying £9 K a year not to have any lectures for a month, that's when we start to worry, especially when this is the last teaching semester before exams. Some students have started campaigns to get compensation for their cancelled lectures so they don't feel their money is being wasted.

Things are escalating though as a scuffle broke out yesterday between Sussex University students supporting their lecturers’ strike and those infuriated over the disruption. A psychology lecture was taking place and there were about 250 people outside chanting 'leave your lectures,' which was said to be disrupting the lecture and angering students inside.

Students should never have been put in this difficult position so late into the academic year. Cancelled lectures at this point in the year is eating into valuable time that should be used for students to get taught exam material, instead University UK are making decisions that are effecting everyone and costing everyone serious money. Not cool.

Sort your shit out University UK.

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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