Hundreds of students across the country have turned out to their local UCU picket lines to offer solidarity and support to their striking lecturers. Members of the University and Colleges Union (UCU) have voted at 64 universities to take indistrial action against proposed changes to lecturers’ pension schemes, with an overwhelming 88% of lecturers voting to strike. The changes, proposed by Universities UK, would leave a new lecturer approximately £208,000 poorer over the course of their retirement than someone who had started work beforehand. The UCU and its members are one of the many groups at the forefront of the fight against the marketisation of our universities and the attacks by management on students and workers. Support the UCU strikers! Socialist Students stands shoulder to shoulder with workers everywhere fighting for better living conditions and wages, and supports fully any strike action the UCU and its members take.
Over the next two weeks, Socialist Students will be visiting UCU picket lines, organising joint meetings with UCU members and raising the need for student strike action in support of the lecturers. On 14 March, Socialist Students will be calling for mass student delegations to the UCU picket lines, for mass student participation in local demonstrations, and for students to strike back alongside their lecturers.
Strike action is the most powerful tool working people have at their disposal to fight against the bosses for better pay and working conditions. The battle for free education will be enormously strengthened if it is linked, both locally and nationally, to the industrial battles of workers, like the struggle of the UCU.
Vice chancellor pay outrage What’s more outrageous is that these attacks have occurred against the backdrop of a renewed period of scandal and outrage against the top managers and bosses who run our universities.
In November, the vice chancellor of Bath University, Glynis Breakwell, was forced to resign after it was revealed she earned £468,000 in 2016/2017. But Breakwell did not simply bow out gracefully. It took demonstrations and protests, organised jointly by workers and students on campus, to mount pressure and force the vice chancellor into resigning.
Join the fightback - join Socialist Students! Join the strikers on 14 March - fight the attacks against lecturers, fight the marketisation of our universities, and fight to kick out the Tories! Join Socialist Students and fight forthe socialist transformation of our education system and society.
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