On both of the two hour strikes on Thursday 23rd and Tuesday 28th January, around 50 UCU members and students gathered for protest rallies outside Nottingham Trent University (NTU). The strike is about pay. UCU members were pointing out that whilst they were getting, in reality, a pay cut the vice chancellor’s pay increase meant he was now taking home £320,000 a year. One speaker at the rally asked the strikers, “Is that because he works ten times harder than us?” and was answered by a chorus of “No!”.
Students spoke at the rally to give support to their striking lecturers, making the point that if students are paying £9,000 a year, they would rather that money was going towards decent lecturers, not into the pockets of the vice chancellors! I also spoke to give solidarity from Youth Fight for Jobs and talked about the use of zero-hours contracts on university campuses as well as the future (or lack of) facing young people leaving university.
At the second rally, members started to discuss the need to escalate strike action if this dispute is going to be won. NTU is one of 11 universities who are docking a full day’s pay from lecturers walking out for two hours. The aim of the management is to bully and scare UCU members into not taking any action but in fact the opposite has happened – they are more determined to take action and for the next planned two hour strike to be escalated nationally into a full day’s strike as a step towards further action.
The strikers finished their rally with chants of “the money is there, so where’s our share?”.