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‘This is a last resort’: What Bournemouth lecturers want students to know about the strikes

‘Lecturers think about leaving due to stress’


Over 70,000 staff from 150 universities across the UK are striking for 18 days between February and March 2023 due to disputes in pay, positions and pensions. Starting this week, participating teaching staff are taking a stand by not turning up to their usual lectures and seminars. Up to 2.5 million students across these universities will find that their learning is being put on hold whilst these strikes take place.

Bournemouth University and Bournemouth Arts University staff are among those who have something to say and have been protesting outside the university instead of teaching. They have been giving out leaflets and providing information to the public on why they have decided to strike. They are there in protest of low wages, pensions, casualisation and inequality in pay.

English lecturer at Arts University Bournemouth, Emma Lay said: “We do not want to be here, it is a last resort. We are fighting for not only our working conditions but students’ learning experience.

“We love our students, but it’s so upsetting when you have so much workload that it prevents you from having a good work/home life balance- it’s exhausting!”

Emma added “At Arts University Bournemouth, lecturers work on average two days extra unpaid every week, I know two lecturers are thinking of leaving due to this stress.”

Media law lecturer at Bournemouth University, David Mascord said: “I am striking due to wanting a substantial pay increase, in real terms, pay has decreased by 20 per cent over the last two decades. I would like to see our pensions restored and have our workload reviewed as at the moment it is unmanageable.

“Striking is a last resort.”

Shannon Key, a first year business student at Bournemouth University said: “I do support the strikes because the lectures deserve better rights. However, I know a lot of other students, including myself, who have been affected by them.

“It is frustrating when we pay so much money to come to university and are not getting taught a lot of the curriculum due to strikes.”

“It is frustrating when we pay so much money to come to university and are not getting taught a lot of the curriculum due to strikes.”

Aaron Sugg a first year journalism student said: “I think it’s good how Bournemouth University staff have made students aware of the strikes taking place. For example, I have received emails from certain lectures that we don’t have to turn up due to them striking.

“However, I think it’s unfair that university students, in particular, are on the receiving end of the strikes. I am paying over £9,000 a year for my education and at the moment I feel like I’m not receiving a lot of it.”

Archie Cooper a second year student studying finance said: “I can fully sympathise with the staff for their reasoning and why they are striking but  for those of us who had a university disrupted by Covid and now this, it does make the money I am paying for my course feel like a bit of a rip off.”

Bournemouth University posted on their website:”If you have specific concerns relating to your studies or research due to industrial action at BU or in local schools on these dates, please contact your personal tutor, programme lead or your supervisor. There is also a range of  support and resources on our website. You can also get in touch with AskBU.”

Universities and colleges union are hoping because of the strikes, changes to the way lecturers and staff are treated and paid will be made.

When approached for comment, a spokesperson for Bournemouth University said: “The university remains open along with all of our facilities, for example libraries, study spaces and sports facilities. Not all academic colleagues will be striking and, therefore, many students may find their studies unaffected by the industrial action. To date, there has been minimal impact in terms of cancelled sessions, but we will continue to monitor this. We are asking students to continue to attend university and submit assignments or coursework as normal, unless they are told otherwise by their programme team. Where possible, we will identify sessions affected by strike action and inform students in advance of any postponements, and some staff will choose themselves to let students know that they are taking part in the strike action. However, staff are not required to provide advance notice of their action.

“Any students who feel that the industrial action by university staff is or may be affecting their studies or placements should speak to their programme support team. They can also contact their Personal Tutor. More information about the industrial action at BU is available in these Frequently Asked Questions.

“This is a national dispute relating to the 2022/23 pay negotiations, and any resolution needs to be made at a national level. Pay is negotiated nationally on behalf of participating higher education institutions by the Universities and Colleges Employers Association and BU is a participating institution.”

Arts University Bournemouth said: “AUB is known as a supportive and caring employer; we offer enhanced holiday entitlement and highly favourable pension benefits, we have created a comprehensive wellbeing programme for all staff, from bespoke counselling services through to support for flu jabs, eye tests, and occupational health services.

“We have initiated an agile working policy to provide contemporary working arrangements and provide a range of family-friendly and flexible policies. Teaching, technician, and professional services staff at AUB are well regarded. Loyalty is good, retention is high, but we take nothing for granted and we will continue to support our staff as we all navigate the range of ongoing external pressures facing the HE sector.”

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