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UCU strikes go beyond demanding money


UCU strikes go beyond demanding money

Today marks the beginning of a third week of strikes for university staff throughout the United Kingdom.

This week, members from the University and College Union are planning to walkout for three days straight to   protest against pay, working conditions, gender and ethnicity pay gaps, as well as pensions.

UCU members are taking part in the strikes across a large number of universities, including the University of the Arts London.

Ash, a lecturer in film and television at UAL, explained that, although it is part of the demands, the strikes go beyond asking for a pay rise. “Salaries are one thing, but the key for us is local branch issues, even if they gave a pay award, we would still be protesting against some other issues.”



He specifically called out the lack of ethnic diversity across universities and the pay gap between ethnicities.   “the pay gap on gender has improved, the one on ethnicity hasn’t improved so much. There’s an issue longer term about having more diversity but also them being promoted and being on the same salary. ”

Additional, the lecturer called out the issue of the casualisation of contracts and an increase in staff being employed on hourly contracts or even zero hour contracts. He believes this is the biggest issue for UAL. “They need to give longer contracts and really need to make hourly paid into fractional contracts.

The University and Colleges Union is encouraging students to support their lecturers, which seems to be the case of many, although a few concerns remain.

Four Master students in media and communications at UAL looking at the picket lines from a distance expressed their support, as well as their concerns about their limitations as international students.

Master students

“We definitely support them but then we also have our own financial aspects to think about.” One of the students, Alexandra, pointed out a lack of transparency from universities. She was concerned about where the large tuition fees from students were going and why they were not used to help university staff.


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