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UK university students angry at planned lecturers’ walkout after ‘months of disruption’ from Covid

University students throughout the UK have voiced their frustrations with ongoing plans for lecturer strikes after “months of disruption” cause by the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Students the University College London have gone so far as to make an official statement in opposition to the plans to continue lecturer strikes in the coming weeks. UCL students are urging academics to boycott strike ballots as well. 

The University and College Union began balloting academic members at over 150 universities throughout the country on Monday on issues such as strikes over pay, pensions and working conditions. 

The UCU has threatened “enormous disruption” in the university sector for the remainder of the year, even potentially bleeding over into 2022, including a lecturer strike to occur sometime before Christmas holidays. 

While the UCU has often had students on their side in the face of such issues, the ongoing disruption caused to students academic lives over the last two years due to Covid has hardened students attitudes towards strikes. 

More than 41,000 students at ULC’s student union have passed a policy stating that they will “not support potential upcoming nationwide strikes by academics”. 

“Whilst we are sympathetic to the cause, and hold a deep appreciation for our academic community, industrial action, after two academic years which were affected by consistent national lockdowns, would only serve to further damage the experience of students at UCL,” the policy says. “This would also seriously put into question the value for money of the UCL experience.” 

It goes on: “Students have already endured a year of online learning. Now is the time for students to be rebuilding from these months of disruption, not for students to face a further obstacle to their education.  

“Many students will have experienced the same strikes in 2019. For some students, they will have experienced strikes, followed by two academic sessions disrupted by Covid. The prospect of a further disturbance to their studies is untenable. 

“At this time, strikes will only serve to damage students more. Constructive discussion and negotiation, on a national level, is required to overcome the pension dispute.” 

UCU strikes have been an ongoing disruptive force in the lives of UK university students on top of the Covid-19 pandemic, with strikes interrupting their studies in 2108, 2019, and 2020. 

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