Most students support strike action taken by university staff and believe universities are to blame for the action, reveals a poll conducted on the eve of the strikes.
The YouGov poll shows 66% of students at universities where staff are striking support strike action, and just 2% think university staff are to blame for the dispute. Meanwhile, half of students blamed university employers for the dispute.
Sally Hunt, UCU general secretary, said that the poll “shows it is quite clear who students think is to blame for the strikes at universities. We have been overwhelmed by the support we have received from students and want to assure them we are doing all we can to get this dispute resolved.
“Students are threatening to sue for compensation, university vice-chancellors are breaking ranks and publicly calling for their representatives in UUK to restart talks, and the universities minister has said it’s time for talks.”
Industrial action follows plans by Universities UK to end the defined benefit element of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), which UCU says will leave a typical lecturer almost £10,000 worse off annually in retirement.
Universities minister Sam Gymiah has called for UCU and UUK to “find a way through this damaging and avoidable impasse ASAP”, while Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has expressed his support to strikers, saying “I join staff and students in calling for the employers to commit now to meaningful negotiation.”
The strike days across the next four weeks are:
- Thursday 22 and Friday 23 February (two days)
- Monday 26, Tuesday 27 and Wednesday 28 February (three days)
- Monday 5, Tuesday 6, Wednesday 7 and Thursday 8 March (four days)
- Monday 12, Tuesday 13, Wednesday 14, Thursday 15 and Friday 16 March (five days)
Featured image courtesy of Abby King