Essex students give qualified support to lecturer strikes

Striking memebers of the Universities and Colleges Union at the University of Essex on Wednesday. Photo: Essex UCU

Reporters from spoke to University of Essex students to find out what they thought about lecturers going on strike over pay and changes to their pension scheme. This term’s strikes by the Universities and Colleges Union began on 1 February and will continue for 18 days this month and next. This is what the students said


Frankie Filmer, 22, an accounting and finance student, said: “I  don’t have any lectures and I do not know much about the strikes. I am a third year student and have never found that my lecturers have gone on strike.”

Bethan Freeman, 20, an English literature student, said:  “My lecturers are on strike. While I do support the strikes, it is sometimes frustrating when you are paying all this money.”

Sophie Chapman, 19, an English literature and sociology student, said: “it does impact my studies because my lectures were cancelled. I walked to campus only for my lessons to not be on.”

Madeline Abdallah, 27, a law student, said: “ “I agree with the strike. Tuition fees are going up, especially for international students, but the money clearly is not going towards the professors’ salaries. Specifically for law, there’s a lot of independent learning so I don’t think the strikes have impacted my studies the same way it may affect other degree plans.”

Isobel Baker, 18, a social anthropology and human rights student, said: “The lectures that have been cancelled for me have been all discussion seminars so fortunately I havent missed out on any important content. All my lecturers were on strike and I’m in full support of them. I believe that anyone who is willing to lose pay (let alone 18 days of it) to highlight problems with their jobs that need addressing. I would always support the strikes, even if it impacted my studies negatively. However, I would have preferred more advice from the university to help students through the strikes and let us know what lecturers are striking.”

Eben McCarthy, 18, a politics and international relations student, said: “So far the strikes haven’t affected my lectures. Only one of my lecturers was on strike but I know my other lecturers support it. From what my lecturer said, the lecturers that don’t have UK permanent residency/citizenship aren’t able to strike, even if they support it, since the university sponsors their visas. Many of my lecturers are not British citizens so they haven’t been able to. I do support the strikes, I think it’s insane that the vice-chancellor makes six figure salary and gets a house whilst the short-term contract lecturers make a quarter of what the VC makes.”