March 15 marks UK Budget Day, where millions of Brits awaited Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s announcement in The House of Commons.
It is also the day Union leaders have called for a mass strike, with maximum disruptions nationwide.
Teachers with the NEU, University lecturers, Junior doctors, Civil servants and Tube drivers, are among thousands striking for higher pay and better working conditions today, across the whole of the UK.
We spoke to university students who attended the mass demonstration in front of the UK Government building in the Welsh capital.
Nathan Mintz, a first-year Politics student at Cardiff University (left)
“I come from a family where my mom worked in a university. It’s not fair how they’re being paid, to not be in a place where they can afford to live and work comes as a liability to them. We should support our lecturers, and it’s important we’re there for them.
I’m hoping the budget is going to be good enough, but I’m not too optimistic. I hope we reach a good place where students, phd students, and lecturers are happy. I’m an International student so I already pay quite a bit more compared to home students, and prices of food are rising. Do I buy this for myself or do I get food instead?”
Zack Hayward, a final year Law student at Cardiff University (right)
“Pay goes down, conditions get worse, pensions disappear. We know things are getting worse all across the UK.
We know people can’t afford to eat, people can’t put the lights on, and people can’t heat their houses.
As students in Wales, we’re actually quite lucky, we haven’t had much difficulty in terms of choosing between heating and eating, but things still cost more. We’re still not living particularly comfortably, and for people who are in full-time employment to be worse off than us, to be so badly off right now, to be barely putting food on the table for themself and their families and barely have a future idea on what their finances are gonna look like by the time they finish working, it’s ridiculous. It’s wrong. Trade unions are the only protection between everyone standing out here in the freezing cold and a life of misery and working yourself to the bottom.”
“You can’t polish a turd.
It’s a Government that shows such malice in the way it cuts and cuts and cuts. Real terms wages and public sector pensions and, good working conditions, stable jobs, which once upon a time we relied on.
The budget will be a very nicely packaged attempt to claim that all of those cuts they made in the last year will somehow get restored. The damage that Lizz Truss did in 50 days will not be covered by this budget, let alone the damage that The Tories have done in the last 15 years for taking the British public for granted.”
Patrick Thomas, a student at Cardiff University (left)
“If they get treated better, I get treated better and receive better education as a result. Every public service improves if the people working for them are getting treated and paid better.
I come from quite a poor family. My mom was living in a rental accommodation last year and the cost going up and up and up has forced her into council housing. She still struggles to afford to pay food and pay bills, she works for the NHS in the pharmacy and she’s struggling to do it all.
Sam Ogier, Cardiff University student (right)
“I expect absolutely nothing from the budget. We had nothing for 13 years, and we will have nothing untl the next general election.
I’m looking at bills especially. For how long do we have the radiator on? Going to the library because it’s 24 hours and there’s heating.
That’s no position we should be in as students. That’s no position we should be in as students. We’re paying a lot of money in maintenance loans, and that’s still not enough to cover our cost of living.
Inflation is going to keep on going next year, and it’s just gonna get worse and worse and worse.”
JAMES BARBER, CARDIFF UNIVERSITY STUDENT (left)
“Supporting strikes is supporting working people and those like us. I’m an NHS student, and you see it when going on placement- the effect that Tory cuts have had on services.
It’s horrific, and it means hospitals run less services, it means patients get worse outcomes because there’s not enough staff, and the staff themselves can’t deliver safe care. It’s things like the Unions making sure that we’ve got minimum levels of safety at work and decent pay, and it’s the bare-bone things make it alright.
Normal people are working to make lives better.
James added: “I just had my first placement. Obviously, the NHS is funded by the Welsh Government, but the Tories have cut the Welsh services. I work in Physiotherapy, we’re losing staff because we can’t afford to keep people on, the buildings are old and crumbling, we can’t invest in high-tech equipment, and it means that at the end of the day, it’s patients and staff that suffer.“
“I expect fuckall. If someone steals from you once and then again and again and again, you can’t expect them to change lives. I think it will be the Labour government working with unions to make things better for me and everyone else here.”
BECCA RUMSEY, CARDIFF UNIVERSITY STUDENT (right)
“Our strike rights are being stripped by the Tory Government. When there’s an opportunity to strike, there should be lots of people striking because if you don’t the government can say people don’t want to strike. They can get away with anything. Nurses get less than worker at Pret. All these workers are being exploited, because they’re being underpaid. Especially in the cost of living crises: you have to choose between heating and eating.
I don’t expect too much. We’re one of the only countries that haven’t been able to bounce back from the pandemic. I think they’re gonna give very little to the people.”
DARREN WILLIAMS, Industrial Officer at PCS Union (left)
“Today shows that there remains a major issue, particularly with respect to the cost of living, the public worker sector around the UK, where the Government, in particular, is trying to get public services on the cheap. It’s not showing workers the respect or value they deserve.
I expect very little from the Budget because, unfortunately, every indication we’ve had from this Tory Government is that their priorities are not the well-being of the people, they’re not the deliberations of the public services. They’re looking after their friends amongst the rich and sticking to dogmatic and outdated economic views. “
Categories: Cardiff, Strikes, Student Life, Uncategorized
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