On Monday, I went to the picket lines of the University and College Union (UCU) strike at University of Bristol, to listen to University staff about why they are taking industrial action – and to show my support.
The UCU have asked their members to go on strike for eight days between Monday 25 November and Wednesday 4 December. There are two disputes involving UCU members that relate to the industrial action. The first is about the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) pension fund, and the second is about working conditions: including pay, equality, casualisation, and workloads.
UCU members in higher education have seen a decrease in their pay by 20% in real terms since 2009. Over the same period workloads have risen and so have insecure contracts. Employers have done little to address the significant race and gender pay gaps in the sector. UCU members also believe that the increased cost to pay into the USS pension scheme should be borne by their employers.
It was great to meet so many staff and students supporting them!