Universities are beginning to act more and more like corporations, with leaders paying themselves fat-cat salaries funded by leaving many lecturers on exploitation contracts. we have always opposed the marketisation of higher education and believe that education is a public good, fees should be abolished, existing debt should be cancelled, and maintenance grants should be restored.
Over the past 21 years, university lecturers have experiences and 20% real-terms pay cut and this comes alongside a 35% cut from the guaranteed retirement income of retired staff on 22nd February 2022.
The casualisation of higher education has led to the lowering of standards and the unacceptable exploitation of staff. Research shows that 97% of academics on fixed-term contracts would rather be on permanent ones, exploding the claim that 'flexibility' for academics is some form of lifestyle choice.
These statistics, combined with increasing workloads, growing pay inequality and the use of exploitative and insecure contracts have motivated 10 days of UCU strikes spread between Monday 14th February and Wednesday 2nd March. The UCU is demanding that employers revoke the cuts to staff pensions and formally accept the union's compromise proposals. Furthermore, the UCU is demanding a £2.5k pay increase for all staff, as well as action to tackle unmanageable workloads, reductions in pay inequality and an end to insecure and exploitative contracts.
Official UCU picket line at University of Kent (Medway Campus)