The University and College Union (UCU) has announced that members nationally (including staff from Loughborough University) will be partaking in three days of industrial strike action from Wednesday 1st December to Friday 3rd December.
Last week, we launched the question ‘Should Loughborough Students’ Union support UCU strike action over the pension dispute?’ which saw the Executive Team seeking student opinion on this topic both in-person and online. A total of 349 students responded to our question. Whilst we appreciate this is only a small percentage of the student population, the feedback we received, and the conversations we had, were immensely helpful in establishing a stance on the matter.
The total voting numbers were as follows:
Yes – 201
No – 86
No Preference - 62
Whilst the majority of student respondents were in favor of the strikes or neutral towards them, those not in support of the strikes felt very strongly about the impact it would have on their studies, particularly following the ongoing situation with COVID-19.
Whilst LSU understands why UCU have taken the difficult decision to strike and it’s clear a number of students are supportive of the action – when considering the size of the student sample and mixture of opinions noted (particularly through additional comments), we wouldn’t feel comfortable taking a Union-wide stance on this matter at this stage.
With this in mind, we want to ensure that students are informed about the strikes and the position of both sides, to allow students to make an informed decision and formulate their own standpoint on the situation.
Any student wishing to support the strikes can find further information, provided by UCU, at the end of this update.
Any student who feels that the strikes are having an adverse impact on their studies can contact LSU Advice for independent, confidential advice about how to raise their concerns with the University.
If strike action continues next semester, we will conduct a further survey with our members to see if opinions have evolved and if therefore our approach needs to evolve also.
The following guidance provided by UCU provides some examples of how students may wish to support the strikes:
- By visiting us on the picket lines at the main gate (Wed 1st -Fri 3rd, 8.00 am -11.00 am): they'll be warmly welcomed.
Just to be clear, students can't 'join' the picket, but they can certainly come along to talk with us and register their support
- By visiting our YouTube channel here and watching the several videos on the industrial action (posting likes/positive responses, and linking to these materials in messages to friends, would be great!).
- By talking to their friends about the industrial action, especially in cases where other students might not be as fully informed.
- Writing to the University's senior management team expressing support with our position and encouraging them to use what leverage the University has to secure a reopening of negotiations on the pensions issue.