Staff member at the University of Liverpool blames strikes on ‘antagonistic’ management

The staff member said the walk outs were ‘easily avoidable’

A staff member at the University of Liverpool has claimed that management’s “antagonistic” approach made strike action inevitable.

Across 140 UK universities, members of the University and College Union (UCU) were on strike last week. The dispute between universities and staff is ongoing and is concerning pay and working conditions.

One anonymous university staff and UCU member argued that the walk-out could have been avoided if the university had agreed to stop the pay deductions, reports Liverpool Echo.

The staff member also accused university management of an “antagonistic” approach to the negotiations, arguing that they offered little compromise in order to deter staff from future strike action.

The Echo spoke to one university staff member and UCU member, who did not wish to be named, before the strike action took place. They said: “The management has to change if they’re gonna put an end to this. We’re absolutely baffled that they haven’t come with anything. They are trying to make sure to put us off from future action.”

Adding that staff were determined to avoid disruption to students, they said: “We were all extremely demoralised. We didn’t want to strike at all.

“The last thing we want is to take away a student’s first week of teaching.

“We hoped that the money that [management] were saving from our wages into a student hardship fund. We know that students are really struggling.

“We’re seeing students using food banks, we’re seeing students paying more rent than their loans actually cover. They don’t know if their current teachers will be teaching them this year.”

They added: “This is so easily avoidable.”

Earlier this year as a part of the dispute, lecturers sanctioned a marking boycott meaning that some students graduated without their full marks. Whilst the marking boycott has not ended, staff at the University of Liverpool are still having their pay deducted for not completing this work.

Arguing that the pay cuts during the boycott were “far too punitive”, the Uni of Liverpool staff member said: “We were boycotting the marking. It’s a fairly small part of our job and the management has deducted 50 per cent of our pay for something that makes up about 10 per cent of our jobs”.

A spokesperson for the University of Liverpool said: “The University of Liverpool takes part in collective negotiation, managed by the Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA), in order to achieve fair and equitable pay, pensions and working conditions for staff working across the higher education sector.

“The current UCU industrial action mandate relates to pay and working conditions. A final pay offer from UCEA in January this year resulted in the implementation of a salary uplift of between 5 per cent and 8 per cent and a series of significant proposals on improved working conditions have also been tabled for discussion”

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