UCU strike: Reaction

After a failed attempt to strike on Monday 20th and Tuesday 21st March, the University and College Union (UCU) have now voted to take their proposed industrial action on Friday 31st.

The strike was originally planned to take place on the 20th and 21st but due to a ‘technical error on UCU’s part’, the action was postponed. Prior to this, the University of Brighton Management Board and the UCU entered discussions on the 14th and 15th March in order for the University to offer conciliation on the issues raised by the UCU, but they failed to reach an agreement.

Current University of Brighton lecturer, Dr. Leighton Evans has reassured students that the strikes will not interfere with their student experience significantly. “These strikes are taking place when there is minimal disruption to students as possible,” Dr. Evans said, “You should be afforded a particular level of education.”

Addressing multiple other issues to News editor Kieran McGinley, Dr. Evans continued to discuss the impact of the strike on undergraduates as well as post-graduates. “I think assigning demonstrators as undergraduates is inappropriate,” he said, “for post-graduates, lecturing helps their experience and they rely on the revenue for teaching courses. To rebrand their role as a demonstrator would affect their employability.”

“Although this isn’t a universal issue, it could set a precedent for this behaviour from the university in the future,” Dr Evans continued.

The strike, which has been received with mixed emotions by students, is set to go ahead on the 31st as expected. However, Vice-Chancellor Professor Debra Humphris guaranteed students that the University ‘has not demoted lecturing staff in the way described and nor has the University made staff redundant while other colleagues have too much to do’ in a recent email.

In response to the strikes, a University spokesperson said: “This industrial action is totally unnecessary and we are disappointed that it is going ahead. The University will remain open and we will do everything necessary to minimise the impact on our students.”

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