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Some Bristol Uni students will lose over £1600 worth of teaching due to UCU strikes

Some students will miss nearly half of their contact hours over the spring term


Due to the ongoing strikes called by the University and College Union (UCU), some Bristol University students will lose an average of £1,618.77 worth of term-time teaching this year.

18 days of UCU strikes commenced last week following three days of strikes last November. Strikers have come out in force to protest the casualisation of the University workforce as well as pension and pay cuts.

However, the most recent strikes mean that some Bristol students will miss a staggering 47 per cent of teaching in the spring term.

Furthermore, because the University of Bristol has 24 weeks of teaching per year, 17.5 per cent of this academic year has been disrupted by strikes. Based on this calculation, term-time teaching missed is equivalent to £1,618.75 (if paying home fees of £9,250 per year).

Results collected by The Bristol Tab illustrate that approximately 55 per cent of students support the UCU strikes. Additionally, 96 per cent of students believe that they deserve financial compensation due to the strikes. There is also the potential for strike action to continue after March, with an assessment marking boycott on the horizon. It is unclear how this boycott could affect final-year students graduating.

In total, 70,000 UCU members are striking nationwide unless university employers make significantly improved offers regarding disputes over pay, working conditions and pension cuts. Unless the demands of a “meaningful pay rise” and the end of insecure contracts are met, the planned strike action will continue.

An email from Vice-Chancellor Evelyn Welch stated “We continue to engage with unions both locally and nationally, and with the pay and pensions bodies to try and resolve ongoing issues”, and reassured that her focus was on supporting students, “The board of examiners is fully aware of how the strikes may affect the academic performance of students and will make adjustments if deemed necessary”.

The UCU general secretary Jo Grady has critiqued the response of university vice-chancellors claiming they would “rather force staff to take strike action and see campuses shut down” than support their academic staff with the cost of living crisis.

A local grassroots organisation, Student Action Bristol, have organised ‘teachouts’ on strike days as an alternative to missed teaching. On Thursday 9th February they have three ‘teachouts’ at the People’s Republic of Stokes Croft on Jamaica Street. You can find out more information through their Instagram page @studentactionbristol.

Related stories recommended by this writer:

• Bristol UCU announce the dates of 18 days of strikes