How will international students be affected by UK university strikes?

University strikes in the United Kingdom have been a recurring occurrence due to pension and working conditions issues.

According to The Tab, UK university instructors may stop marking exams next month as part of broader UK university protests if demands for pay and pensions are not met.

After reballots, staff at an additional 12 universities voted in favor of joining industrial action against attacks on wages, pensions, and working conditions, according to UCU, 68 universities throughout the UK might face strike action this academic year.

With more universities deciding to take industrial action, including Newcastle, Queen Mary, and Oxford Brookes, the University and College Union (UCU) has warned that if the conflicts are not resolved this year, further strikes will take place, affecting an even bigger number of institutions.

In universities, colleges, jails, adult education and training organizations across the UK, UCU represents over 130,000 academics, lecturers, trainers, instructors, researchers, managers, administrators, computer workers, librarians, and postgraduates.

To end the conflict over the USS pension (the main pension scheme for UK universities and higher education institutions), UCU is demanding that employers reverse their 35 percent reduction to staff guaranteed pensions.

UCU is also calling for a 2,500-pound pay raise for all employees, as well as steps to address “unmanageable workloads, pay inequalities, and insecure contracts” in the industry.

Strikes will take place at 39 UK universities, including famous institutions such as Durham University, King’s College London, and the Open University (where a substantial foreign student body is present); 24 institutions will strike over wages alone, while five will strike solely over pensions.

UCU general secretary Jo Grady was quoted saying by The Tab that there is a plan to “launch a marking boycott if employers continue to refuse to meet the demands of staff”. 

“We do not take this action lightly, but university staff are tired of falling pay, cuts to pensions, unsafe workloads and the rampant use of insecure contracts. We hope vice chancellors finally see sense and address the long-standing concerns of staff. If they don’t, any disruption will be entirely their fault,” she said.

On top of the obstacles posed by the epidemic, the UK university strikes are anticipated to impair many students’ studies this academic year, especially overseas students. This includes a move to online learning, which has led to some students complaining that they aren’t getting what they paid for.

Many students were also paying rent for apartments they didn’t have.

The most recent round of UK university strikes took place on campuses in England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland between December 1 and December 3, 2021. According to The Guardian, university leaders have accused leftwingers in the UCU of stifling progress toward a more equitable pension arrangement.

After professors began a three-day strike, over a million students were affected by walkouts at 58 UK institutions.

A 14-day strike was called in February 2018 over a disagreement over the UK university pension program.

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