Lecturers in the UK cancelled lectures on mass last week and walked out on strike to protest a planned 1 per cent pay rise to wages. The Universities and Colleges Union (UCU) said that the pay rise was “miserly”.
Striking staff were joined on the picket-line by a number of students who chose to support the protests – however the success of this approach has been disputed. Some students criticised what they claimed were intimidating tactics from striking students encouraging people not to attend lectures.
The Warwick based ‘The Boar’ reported that some students formed a picket line outside a faculty building and the campus bus stop in an attempt to discourage fellow students from attending lectures.
This trend was followed in other areas with students in Edinburgh, Oxford and London joining with lecturers to protest.
The success of these actions is often disputed among students in the UK. Protests take place periodically and some student unions are being criticised for failing to put the interests of the majority of their students before student union politics.
Conversely many lecturers sought to clarify their actions as part of a wider campaign against austerity in education. Equally students on the picket line defended their decision to support the lecturers and NUS Scotland also encouraged students to stand in solidarity with lecturers.
This action came just days before the meeting of a group called ‘Students Assembly Against Austerity’ – an offshoot of students from the NUS which some have claimed is seeking to move student activism to the left and be a more organised political force. The group held a rally on 2 November to encourage more protests against austerity. In addition the group plans to engage in civil disobedience on 5 November as part of a Twitter trend known as #burnausterity.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
– ARE THE STRIKES WORKING?
– SHOULD STUDENTS ENCOURAGE PICKET-LINES ON CAMPUS?
– IS THE NUS HEADING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION?
Greg Bianchi and Viral Shah
Image courtesy of The Oxford Student