by Rebecca Weinberg
Strike action is still ongoing, as university staff throughout Scotland began their eight-day strike yesterday. Members of the University and College Union (UCU) are hoping to negotiate with university leaders on four key issues, known as “four fights, one voice”. The issues being contended are: equality, casualisation (including the use of zero-hour and temporary contracts), fair workloads, and fair pay.
12 Scottish universities are involved in the strikes, which will be ongoing until Wednesday December 4. Student support for the striking staff members has been vast, despite the disruption to classes and exams.
A spokesperson for Strathclyde University’s UCU members said: “The student support has been fantastic. They have been sending messages of solidarity, attending our picket lines, and donating to the strike fund.
“[Students] were a key part of the great success in the 2018 strikes, and it makes the difficult task of taking strike action a little bit easier when we have the backing of the students.
“Lamentably, students are treated and viewed as consumers by the university sector nowadays. In such a situation, surely the leaders of universities ought to consider the views and opinions of those whom they view as their customers.”
In the University of Glasgow, members of the Glasgow University Communist Society held a bake sale today, with proceeds going towards the strike fund. Philosophy, politics, and physics students banded together in their support of academic staff.
They stated: “We’re making every effort in supporting the UCU membership in their efforts to secure decent working conditions and a better pension deal. Staff workloads affect the quality of teaching for us as students, and we would submit that the interests of the University of Glasgow’s students lie in improving the conditions of our hard working staff, who are giving us a world class education.”