Over the last few days the LSE Students’ Union held an indicative vote on whether we should support the LSE branch of UCU in their call for strike action in February. Our members voted to stand in solidarity with UCU; who are striking against changes to staff pension schemes and against low pay, casualisation of contracts, workload and inequality, these are known as the UCU’s ‘Four Fights’. Therefore, the LSE Students’ Union supports UCU in their call for strike action in February.
Students have been thoroughly disrupted in recent years, whether that was here at LSE or at a previous place of study, and speaking as five students whose degrees were hugely affected by the pandemic, we empathise with your frustration over the impact of strike action on the student experience.
At the LSESU, we believe students deserve compensation for missed teaching and access to learning resources. We especially sympathise with our international and postgraduate students who are particularly affected by the high costs of tuition. We are speaking to senior members of the university about potential fee rebates, only insofar as this financial impact falls on the institution, not its staff. We are pleased that, once again, the LSE branch of UCU has negotiated for uncollected wages to be reallocated into student hardship funds.
We are also working closely with colleagues at LSE to ensure examinations/assessments do not contain missed content, and for the university to offer additional learning opportunities outside of strike days through LSE Life.
Finally, we recognise that the disruption can have a detrimental effect on people’s mental health and wellbeing, especially those with access and inclusion needs. We are working with both UCU and LSE to best support students through this period. This is an ongoing process for which we will keep you updated.
Nationally, we have been collaborating with Students’ Unions across the Russell Group to lobby the Higher Education sector and get government and university leaders around the negotiating table. It is in our collective interests that all parties work together towards a resolution. Teaching conditions are synonymous with student learning conditions; ending the ethnicity pay gap, putting an end to precarious contracts, and ensuring the LSE package attracts the best academic talent worldwide, will have direct benefits to the student experience. Although it is undeniable that strike action will unfairly impact our current student body, for whom we will fight for compensation and fair treatment, in the long-term, we believe supporting UCU is the best thing for our students, LSE and the Higher Education sector.
If you have further questions about the strike action and impact on learning, please contact the Student Services Centre. You can also access confidential, 1:1 support from the LSESU Advice Service or talk to us directly through email or at our office hours.
Your Sabbatical Officers;
Josie - General Secretary
Ed - Activities and Development Officer
Faiso - Community and Welfare Officer
Robyn - Education Officer
Vaibhav - Postgraduate Officer