UCU strikes begin at Bristol Uni despite downpours

UCU strikes begin at Bristol Uni despite downpours
UCU strikes begin at Bristol Uni despite downpours

Bristol University and College Union (UCU) members went on strike in wet weather yesterday.

Protesters, most of whom were academic staff, set up picket lines in several university buildings, with the main congregation meeting outside Victoria Halls.

UCU members are protesting over wages, working conditions and pensions after an insufficient 3% increase and a staggering 35% cut in pension funds.

In a statement, UCU General Secretary Jo Grady said: “Academic staff are fed up with lower wages, pension cuts and gig economy working conditions – all while that vice-chancellors benefit from lottery salaries.

“The staff are exhausted, but they are fighting back and they are going to paralyze the whole sector. The vice-chancellors have only themselves to blame. Their dismal leadership led to the largest strike vote ever in our industry.

Thursday marked the start of three days of strikes following an overwhelming vote for industrial action in October.

The national walkout is the largest in history with around 2.5 million students affected.

Speaking to the BBC, literature and comparative cultures lecturer Alexandra Reza said: ‘Overworked, underpaid and precarious staff cannot provide a great education for students.

“People go into teaching at university not because they think they’ll make a lot of money. We go there because we love research, we love teaching and we love our students. It’s just very difficult when that goodwill and that love that we have is worn out.

UCU members will strike today and Monday, with a blackout scheduled for the 25th.

For more information on strikes, visit the UCU website.

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