With heavy snow paralysing central London around noon, those taking part in the national UCU strike and supporters alike, braved the snow and stood their ground on the official Strand picket line.
The scheduled teach-out event which was supposed to start at 10am, a discussion facilitated by King’s philosophy department staff titled: “Can you ever join the same picket line twice?”, did not take place – apparently due to an illness.
King’s is one of 65 universities across the UK which its staff who are part of the Universities and College Union (UCU) decided to take industrial action. Action has been called by UCU due to proposed cuts to academics and lecturer’s pensions according to KCLSU.
Camila Royle, a Geography PhD candidate at KCL, told Roar News that although the turnout has gotten a bit lower,”[it] is really impressive…this is still one of the biggest picket lines we’ve had at King’s”–despite the harsh weather.
Christine Barnes, a teaching fellow at the Geography Department also commented that “this is a really good turnout for a third day of a strike”.
Ms. Royle further explained that the turnout “…shows the anger and determination people have…they’re so angry because the cuts are completely needless.”
The UCU estimates that the proposed pension scheme would set back a typical lecturer by about £10,000 per annum, according to Reuters.
Daniel Finkelstein, writing for The Times, who argues that the “younger lecturers are…striking against themselves”, contends that the proposed scheme is “…to make sure [the pension] is fairly shared out. They are ensuring the money hasn’t all been given away while there are people with future claims against it.
Ms Royle also said the “…students realise that its about marketisation of education, [and] it is about universities cutting their liabilities towards their staff”.
According to The Guardian, university leaders have agreed to further talks with the UCU through a third party arbitration service to resolve this matter.
The national strike dates are the following:
- Week one – Thursday 22 and Friday 23 February (two days)
- Week two – Monday 26, Tuesday 27 and Wednesday 28 February (three days)
- Week three – Monday 5, Tuesday 6, Wednesday 7 and Thursday 8 March (four days)
- Week four – Monday 12, Tuesday 13, Wednesday 14, Thursday 15 and Friday 16 March (five days)
Photo Credit: Rebekah Evans