UCU strikes return this Thursday and NUS is fully supportive of university staff fighting over low pay, gendered and racialized pay gaps, increasing workloads and the casualization of their contracts.
NUS Vice-President (Higher Education) Claire Sosienski Smith explains why:
"Government reforms have forced higher education providers to fight each other in a ‘market’ built on student fees rather than providing accessible, life-long, fully-funded learning, and teaching staff are bearing the brunt of it. As long as our education remains a market, these situations will continue, with more and more students feeling aggrieved. Students and employees are the ones paying a personal price here; the people in charge of the situation, our institutions and their Vice Chancellors, must work harder to resolve these disputes.
Students have a right to be angry about the lack of progress on the discussions between UK institutions and the staff who teach and support them, day in and day out. We know that the student experience will always be better with satisfied staff who are able to teach and support students to their fullest ability. Unfortunately, this isn’t able to happen, which is why we stand together with UCU as they seek to negotiate a solution.
When students are angry, they should make their voices heard to those in charge, and the advice service of their student union should be able to support them. It is perfectly reasonable to want compensation for their missed teaching – when Vice Chancellors and employers care so much about their own financial wellbeing, redistributing money from universities to the pockets of students in a system where the poorest students graduate with the most debt should at least encourage them to end the dispute sooner.”