Written By John Perry

Universities across the UK have been on strike due to ongoing issues within the sector. 74 institutions have chosen to take part in the said strike. The action has started on Thursday the 20th of February and was escalated each week.

The strike was meant to last around 14 days and would culminate between the 9th and 13th of March, with a mass walkout taking place if demands from the University and College Union (UCU) were not met.

De Montfort University (DMU), at the heart of Leicester, is one of the universities affected. With Lecturers and other staff having been spotted picketing around campus, lessons cancelled, and timetables changed.

UCU Poster on DMU campus

The strike itself centred on The Sustainability of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), but also focused around 4 main aspects that need addressing:

· Casualisation

· Wanting improvements in pay

· Equality

· Workloads

Union members refuse to perform extra hours outside their given contract until the University’s representatives sit down for new talks. This means that lecturers worked strictly to contract, refused to reschedule lectures lost and refrained from covering absent colleagues. This measure is referred to as ‘’Action Short Of A Strike’’.

At the end of last year, in November and December, 60 UCU members walked out for eight days at 60 Universities. One million students were affected. This wave of students affected another 14 universities and an additional 200,000 students.

The strike, which spans 14 days across 4 weeks, and as of writing this, is still ongoing.

The strike itself may end sooner if negotiations can take place to end the disputes between the UCU and Universities within the next week or so, which would be greatly appreciated by students around many campuses. Many of whom protest current events and the effect it has on their education. An education which comes at a high price, especially for Postgraduates, as missing four weeks out of their year-long education is a significant chunk. Undergraduates have also been severely affected, however, especially final year students, with this strike cutting in essential lectures regarding their exams and dissertation.

What is worth mentioning, however, is that the COVID19 virus has its own effects on both teaching and strikes. Many Universities, including De Montfort University, have chosen to continue their teaching online. Despite the strikes, many lecturers are working hard to make this a possibility.