By Ben Jones
An estimated 95,000 students at eight universities across Wales are set to be affected by seven weeks of national strike action organised by the UCU, against current working conditions, wages and pension cuts.
Across the country, a total of eight universities are to be involved in the strike action, including: Aberystwyth University, Bangor University, Cardiff Metropolitan, Cardiff University, University of South Wales, Wrexham Glyndwr University, University of Trinity Saint David and Swansea University.
Beginning on the 1st of February, and lasting until the 22nd of March, the strike will involve over 70,000 UCU-affiliated members of staff all across Britain, each to take at least 18 days of leave, in order to try and force negotiations in favor of a 4-5% pay increase. Challenging their aims is the Universities and Colleges Employers Association – who the UCU has a complicated history with.
Across Cardiff, three universities are to be affected – Cardiff University, Cardiff Metropolitan University, and the University of South Wales – with an estimated figure of around 70,000 students having their studies disrupted.
Anna, 21 – a student at Cardiff Metropolitan University, described the strikes as a “necessary evil. It’s a difficult thing to think about, but really, I feel like they have no choice.”
UCU General Secretary Jo Grady released the following statement earlier today, saying: “Students understand that staff’s working conditions are their learning conditions – and we are proud to have their support in these disputes. A system that relies on low pay and the rampant use of insecure contracts is a system which fails everyone.”
“The university sector in the UK has over £40bn sitting in reserves, but instead of using that vast wealth to deliver a cost-of-living pay rise and reverse devastating pension cuts, university vice-chancellors would rather force staff to take strike action and see campuses shut down.”
“A resolution can be reached, but that is in the gift of university vice-chancellors who need to urgently reassess their priorities and deliver a deal that benefits staff and students. From February, our union will begin reballoting its members to allow action to continue through the rest of the academic year, should they continue to drag their feet.”