Letter to UoB students written by UCU members

Dear all,

 

As you may know, the University and College Union (UCU) has called for a national strike.

A strike is where employees make a protest by stopping working. They lose all their pay for the days they are on strike. Sometimes employees protest at their place of work and this is called a picket line.

I want to let you know how all this will affect your teaching with me.

As a member of the UCU, I will be striking from Monday 25th November to Wednesday 4th December. University staff do not take this decision lightly. We are committed to your studies and we want you to thrive during your degree. But we are left with no options. For most of us, striking will bring significant financial problems and will affect our ability to sustain ourselves. However, Union members have voted to strike because they believe that staff have been treated unfairly in a number of ways, for a long time. Without change, it will keep getting harder for staff to teach and support their students excellently.

We are committed to giving you the best education: our working conditions are your teaching and learning conditions. We care about you and it is never easy to walk away from our classes, but we cannot continue to accept the worsening of our working conditions, the increases in workloads, and the rise in job insecurity on campus. 70% of teaching staff at our university are on insecure (often 9-month or even shorter) contracts, leaving many of your tutors anxious about their future every few months.

We value the work you do every day, and take pleasure when our transformative pedagogies help you to flourish. We want to continue to support you, because seeing you graduate and hearing the stories of your time with us are incredibly rewarding. But we simply cannot do this if university management continue to treat us as disposable assets.

We hope this strike will be a good lesson for the future. There is dignity in striking, in not crossing a picket line that you know is going to make things a little better for everyone, and in fighting for what is just and right. We know good education needs resources and patience. It doesn’t need exhausted staff who can no longer function. If you want to support your tutors, librarians, and other staff who are supporting your teaching, learning and wellbeing, please come visit us on the picket lines and demand that management refund you for any missed classes; after all, they are deducting 8 days of our salaries.

You can learn more about why the UCU has called for a strike. The key questions are answered in this Frequently Asked Questions prepared by students for students. There are many ways in which you and your colleagues can make a real impact in the ongoing dispute. Inform yourself, talk to your lecturers, talk to your peers, and, if you think we have good reasons to strike, make clear your support for the strike to the people that count and participate in the strike action. The FAQ gives you further details on how you can do that, from writing an email to our Vice-Chancellor to getting in touch with your Student Union and student reps to join us on the picket line.

You can contact me in case you have any more questions about how the strike will impact your study. Please do not hesitate to get in touch via email or come to see me during my office hours. However, please note that from November 25th I won’t be available to respond to any queries until the end of the strike action. If you want to see me, you will find me on the picket line.

Many thanks for your understanding,

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