Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Universities challenged

If you've been hearing about university staff going on strike and wondering what they've got to complain about, this Guardian piece by Vicky Blake, the president of the UCU branch at the University of Leeds, offers a succinct explanation of and justification for the industrial action.

Here at Cardiff, the corridors have been quiet and the lecture theatres and seminar rooms empty since Wednesday. Despite the obvious disruption to their courses (for which, of course, they now pay a significant amount), students generally appear to be sympathetic to their educators' concerns, recognising that the root causes of the problem are the creeping marketisation within the sector and the increasing disdain and disregard with which academics are viewed by their employers.

All of which makes me feel rather guilty for still being in the office. OK, so I work on the professional services side of things, am not (yet) a member of the union and don't have a pension of the sort that is set to be affected by the proposed devastating switch from final salary defined benefit schemes to defined contributions schemes. As someone who works on journals that happen to be based in Cardiff rather than strictly on university services, neither would my downing tools make much of an impact. But that doesn't mean that I don't feel the need to show solidarity with colleagues whose futures are at risk. In the circumstances, helping to spread the word seems like the very least I can do.

(Thanks to Cat for the link.)

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