Friday, 18 March 2011

All for one and one for all

This one's for my students, some of whom read this blog.

You might be aware that your teachers are on strike next Thursday. You've had a highly partisan e-mail from management making us sound like a selfish and greedy bunch.

Here's why we're striking.

Firstly, our jobs are increasingly insecure. Last year, 150 people lost their jobs because the executive (salaries: £100,000-£240,000) managed to misinform the government about how many students we had, and got fined several million pounds. None of the people responsible for this lost their jobs. They then said that everything was OK again and we could all relax.

Now we find that another 25 people are being fired. We also get offered a 0.4% pay rise, which is effectively a 4.3% pay cut because inflation is at 4.7%. So we're actually getting poorer. Did management take the same hit? No: the Vice-Chancellor took a rise of 3.5%, neatly covering inflation at the time it was agreed. For those of you who like hard figures, that's a pay rise of £7000.

Additionally, they're attacking our pensions. The deal in education is that we accept we're never going to be rich, but we have decent pensions. No longer: we're being asked to work for several years longer, pay more for our pensions and get lower pension payments. I don't personally mind working a bit longer, given we all live longer than ever, but I think those extra years of paying in rather than taking out should cover any shortfall.

Students may well be unhappy about missing a day's lectures (no, really, it's possible). But I'll say this: an overworked (we're seriously understaffed) and poorer teaching staff is far more detrimental. Too many classes, too many students and money worries don't add up to cutting-edge research-informed teachers.

Think about next year. Your brothers and sisters will be paying £7000-9000 per year, several thousands of pounds more than you're paying. Will the money be dripping off the library shelves, or paying for more staff and smaller classes? No. But the Vice-Chancellor will still be on more than £245,000.

We care about students. Please join us on the picket line next Thursday. We don't want to strike, but our employer isn't listening to us.


Sue's Blog said...

You all have my support.

Ewarwoowar said...

Can I come along and whack any people who cross the line with a baseball bat, like Ricky Tomlinson used to do?

Normally I would condemn such violence but there's a few I can think of who deserve a beating.

The Plashing Vole said...

Er…allegedly. Though he went to prison for his union beliefs.

Our protest is strictly non-violent. On the other hand, you're not a UCU member and I have no authority to forbid your coincidental and heavily armed presence.

Ewarwoowar said...

In all seriousness, I feel strongly about this. I've taken the time off today to make my own placard which hopefully I can bring along?

I've just finished it and I'll pop it up on twitpic here for you to approve:

The Plashing Vole said...

I like it. It's very popular this year.