In the policy referendum which took place between 6th-9th February, Warwick students overwhelmingly voted in favour of supporting the upcoming UCU strikes.
Warwick SU has a proud history of student-staff solidarity, and we offer our full support to UCU members striking against the disastrous reforms to the USS pension scheme. We call upon University management to lobby Universities UK (UUK) to reverse these changes, and to show their support for staff fighting for the protection of their pensions.
This action taken by UCU is unprecedented, because these proposals represent an unprecedented attack on staff’s working conditions. Staff don’t want to be striking - they want to be teaching, researching and supporting our education - but they have been given no other choice. The strikes can and will end if UUK do the right thing and withdraw their appalling reforms.
Staff working conditions and student learning conditions are inextricably linked in the university setting. It is vital that we stand together against these pension reforms, which represent not only a threat to the future financial assurance of our staff, but also to the future health of Higher Education as a whole.
We were encouraged to see that our Vice Chancellor had written a blog speaking out against the USS changes. However, we were then extremely disappointed to learn that those working to contract as Action Short of a Strike (ASOS) will have their pay docked by 25% by the University. We feel that this hugely undermines the University’s previously commendable position, and shows a complete disregard for the wellbeing of staff who are risking so much to fight for a secure future. Most universities are not undertaking such punitive measures, and we would compel Warwick management to reconsider.
We understand that students may have concerns about how their student experience will be affected by these strikes. We are in proactive discussion with the University to seek urgent clarification on how this will impact students’ academic experiences, including concerns surrounding assessment and graduation. We will lobby the university to implement mechanisms to protect international students’ attendance records during strike days, and we eagerly await an announcement from the University as to how they will be using any forfeited staff wages - we strongly advocate that this money should be invested into supporting students, for example through the hardship fund.
Over the coming days and weeks we will be sending out further communications providing key information and detailing the various ways that students can show their support for the strike. For more information about the strikes, visit the UCU website (https://www.ucu.org.uk/strikeforuss) and the SU's campaign page.
Solidarity with our staff - we stand together.
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INFORMATION FOR STUDENTS
We understand that many of our students are frustrated about the effect of the strikes on their educational experience, particularly as tuition fees are at such a high level. While we accept that people may have calculated the “cost” of the strikes on them by dividing their fees by the number of contact hours, we don’t believe that the cost of classes are feasibly calculated this way, as student fees also fund a multitude of other services offered by the University. If students want to raise this issue, we recommend they do so directly with the University - the Vice-Chancellor can be emailed via email@example.com and VCPA@warwick.ac.uk. Student Finance can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information regarding the strikes, please see our FAQ document HERE.
Resources and further details about the strikes can also be found HERE.