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University Strikes - 61 universities

(208 Posts)
LittleLow Thu 08-Feb-18 15:54:49

More - What on earth is going on? - than AIBU

The planned strikes seem massive with four weeks of teaching time lost. Students in their final year or those writing dissertations could end up with lower marks potentially impacting on job offers.

What will happen with regard to tuition fees? How about special consideration for exams? There seems to be no help or advice for students & parents. Anyone have any information?

Patodp Thu 08-Feb-18 15:56:59

I think students are demanding compensation. Not sure how far they'll get.

chickenowner Thu 08-Feb-18 15:57:43

I don't blame them from striking. The way that university staff, including academics, are treated these days is appalling.

toleranceofflop Thu 08-Feb-18 16:05:26

The UCU website has information on it for students and parents. The NUS is supporting the strike as they appreciate the long term implications for teaching quality if this goes ahead (possibly a mass exodus of experienced staff)

It's awful for students and staff, but hopefully there will be some compromise. Frankly, the half decent pension (which has already been downgraded) is the only thing left to keep a lot of academics in a job that is becoming more soul destroying every year!

LittleLow Thu 08-Feb-18 16:14:06

Thanks for this information.

So it might not go ahead or at least not on this massive scale?

toleranceofflop Thu 08-Feb-18 16:19:51

I hope not, but who knows, negotiations have not gone well so far!

SallyOMalley Thu 08-Feb-18 16:24:56

It's not just teaching it's affecting. We've just canx several UCAS interview days in our university because we can't rely on academics turning up to interview candidates. While I support the reasons for striking, the ramifications across the university are huge. But I guess that's the point of striking!

scaryteacher Thu 08-Feb-18 16:46:48

Ds's uni is striking...but he is doing an MA, so hopefully, not a huge impact, as I am sure there is reading he could be getting on with.

LostInLeics Thu 08-Feb-18 16:57:42

The whole point of having a strike surely is that it will have a big impact? I expect you would want to go on strike too if your employer suddenly announced that that they had decided to just cut your pay by £10,000 a year (which is effectively what the pension changes will mean), without any negotiation.

Students who are worried about missed lectures can surely use their own initiative to cover the missed material through their own reading and research. Most exams and coursework assignments have some degree of flexibility built into them which allow the students to choose which particular questions to answer. I doubt that many lecturers will attempt to assess students on material which they haven't taught them.

IWannaSeeHowItEnds Thu 08-Feb-18 17:00:29

I have dc in their final year, so I am less than pleased. Given that contact time can be as little as 9 hours per week, every session is vitally important. I support the strike but think the universities (who have turned into very astute businesses since the intro of tuition fees) are taking thousands of pounds from students so have to either provide the service for ehich they have been paid, or offer partial refunds.

IWannaSeeHowItEnds Thu 08-Feb-18 17:04:36

I'm sure they can do their own reading, but if students could teach themselves, they wouldn't be paying all this money to universities.

toleranceofflop Thu 08-Feb-18 17:07:08

IWanna I would advise you and any students caught up in this to complain loudly to their universities about this, there is a handy link on the UCU website that you can use!! I doubt that anyone will get far with getting refunds but I wish you all luck and hope you hit them in their wallets. Sadly, as far as I can see the money from fees is being used on upper management pay and vanity projects, it certainly isn't going into teaching!

LittleLow Thu 08-Feb-18 17:07:46

The whole point of paying fees is to receive tuition and guidance! It is a commercial transaction.

IWannaSeeHowItEnds Thu 08-Feb-18 17:09:06

I am totally sympathetic to the strikers and in no way condemn them for doing it. If it goes ahead, I will most definitely be asking for a refund from the uni management.

LIZS Thu 08-Feb-18 17:10:59

Ds has been told that any lectures they miss won't be included in the exams. The SU were still deciding whether to back the strike. Lecturers apparently were told they would lose pay too, if so should students get a rebate?

scaryteacher Thu 08-Feb-18 17:13:23

Lost No, I wouldn't strike, and never have done, as it's wasted effort imo, and when I was teaching, it had an impact on the kids, which for GCSE classes was not good.

I think public sector pensions are being restructured across the board; the HM Forces one is but a shadow of its former self.

Inthedeepdarkwinter Thu 08-Feb-18 17:15:46

Just one point, parents tend to assume that all students are desperately attending all their contact hours and so this is going to massively affect them. Attendance at this point in the term is usually less than 50%. So, at least 50% of students won't notice as they are too busy/disinterested/prefer to revise at home/watch lectures on catch up anyway.

Parents never ever accept this. Their children tell them they attend lectures and there's never enough contact time. This is rarely the case- I had office hours all term for two hours a week and only see a handful of students in an entire term getting extra info on how to do well/readings/reviewing work, and I'm one of the more popular lecturers with high ratings on their courses!

So, for many students, it'll be business as usual! (the more diligent and sensible ones will lose out though)

TheFairyCaravan Thu 08-Feb-18 17:22:14

DS2’s uni is one of the ones striking. He’s in his final year and every contact hour counts now. He’s handed his dissertation in a month or so ago.

He’s a student nurse. He’s just coming to the end of his penultimate placement, then they’re back in lectures for a bit before they go out on placement again. If he was sick or missed the lectures he’d have to make the hours up before he can qualify. God knows what this means now. It’s going to cause stress where stress doesn’t need to be.

And I agree with scaryteacher My husband’s pension has been messed with more times than I care to remember. And DS1’s had thousands wiped off last year, along with pay cuts across the board, but they can’t strike so no one cares.

Inthedeepdarkwinter Thu 08-Feb-18 17:24:39

I should also point out that not attending is often because content delivery has changed- we have online slides, online lecture recordings, online reading lists- which have come about through student demand, but the result is that they can study at home. It benefits them enormously to come to seminars/interact with other students/lecturers but I can also see we have disincentivised that.

leavethelighton Thu 08-Feb-18 17:26:54

I'm a final year student and really worried about how this might affect my grades as I'm currently borderline between degree classes. I currently only have 8 contact hours a week which nearly all fall on a Monday or Tuesday, so will effectively lose a month's worth of teaching. It's not just a matter of doing the reading and prep work for each week and then hoping for the best - seminars are invaluable in being able to clarify ideas and hear other people's interpretations of the material.

Having said that, I do support the staff's reasons for striking. Unfortunately the higher management of my uni are sticking their head in the sand and insisting that disruption to classes will be minimal, while lecturers have told us directly that they won't rearrange classes on strike days. Whether or not final assessments might be changed to accommodate the fact that half the term's material hasn't been taught is still up in the air for us.

Xmasbaby11 Thu 08-Feb-18 17:29:09

I work at a university and a lot of us will be striking.

In our case, we teach international students who pay a lot more than home students. It will damage our reputation and probably cause loss of future income.

I'm undecided about striking but understand how it's come to this. I would lose half my pay and it would upset my students, so it is a difficult decision.

LittleLow Thu 08-Feb-18 17:32:48

Most pensions got hammered years ago. I do sympathise though.

Mine is one of the stressed diligent ones who turns up early to everything and is right in the middle of a dissertation. Nightmare timing.

SoupyNorman Thu 08-Feb-18 17:34:27

The union have told striking lecturers not to reschedule any missed classes - and quite right too, as it would totally miss the point of striking ie withdrawing one’s labour

Slightlyperturbedowlagain Thu 08-Feb-18 17:34:36

Of course striking academics lose their pay, that’s what a strike means, workers feeling strongly enough about an issue to withdraw their labour and lose pay in an attempt to demonstrate how strongly they feel. So yes students should be demanding a rebate IMO because the executive need to feel the back lash.
What they are essentially doing is turning the pension into a private scheme where you pay in and buy an annuity with the pot at the end. Projections are for about half the returns- fine except many staff begin paying in late due to taking research degrees and are on part-time contracts and earn far less than they would in industry, so expect a lot of academics in STEM to decide they don’t love their job enough for the sacrifice, which will have a massively detrimental effect on students long term.
If they get away with this then I think much of the public sector is at risk of following suit at some point, (nhs workers need to bear that in mind)

SoupyNorman Thu 08-Feb-18 17:36:25

Academic pensions already got hammered a few years ago. This is the bosses coming back to gut them again. And for all those saying “well my pension is shit, so yours should be too” - it’s not a race to the bottom. Or at least it shouldn’t be.

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