Students whose studies will be hit by a lecturers strike in a dispute over pensions have launched a campaign to get £840 compensation from college authorities.
The Daily Post reported “The University and College Union will start 14 days of escalating strike action at 61 campuses from February 22.
The industrial action, which will include Bangor and Aberystwyth Universities, will mean cancelled lectures, tutorials and seminars, which could have a significant impact on students who pay £9,000 annual tuition fees and build up debts of up to £50,000 after going to university.
But there is widespread support among students for their lecturers’ industrial action.
Student leader Katie Medlin said: “We support our lecturers because it’s their right to strike as this is going to affect their future.
“If the changes go through many of them will be living below the poverty line.”
Katie has launched an online campaign for the University to reimburse all students for teaching and learning time lost due to the planned strikes.
“Alternatively, we would like the University to listen to lecturer and student demands and work with the UCU to find an amicable solution to the problem.
“We’re being denied our education by the strikes taking place and therefore feel we should be compensated, by Bangor University, for that.
“Based on £9,000 a year tuition fees, with the strike lasting the full 14 days, students are set to lose £840 each.
“With approximately 11,000 students this equates to the university paying out roughly £9,240,000,” she said.
Students will support the striking lectures on the picket lines if the strikes go ahead, she added.
Lecturer Alison Cameron said: “These changes presents a whole load of predicaments for staff and students.
“Staff don’t like striking and damaging students’ education.
“We understand completely that students are paying a lot of money to invest in their education but we’ve been driven to this by cuts in our pensions over the past eight years.
“It’s a significant issue not just a personal issue and we fear the effect it will have on recruitment in the future.
Arfon MP Hywel Williams, who was formerly on the staff at Bangor University, is backing the students and lecturers.
He said: “The issue of greatest concern for me is the hit that individual staff members may be forced to take and the debilitating effect this blow will have on morale and retention, not to mention the knock-on effect on students.
“These cuts will also discriminate by age. Those close to retirement might get off lightly whilst those embarking on a career in lecturing will face uncertainty in retirement.
“The potential consequences on staff recruitment and retention at Bangor and other affected Universities is enormous.
“There are already signs that universities are struggling to recruit the excellent calibre of staff that we have become accustomed to.
“Universities are quite properly independent of government.
“But this matter is so serious that I believe central government must step in, both to provide policy leadership and if needed, the resources required to resolve the crisis.”
Bangor University will remain open during the strike period, a spokeswoman said.
“This is a strike by the trades union UCU, and is the result of proposed changes to the national pension scheme for university staff.
“Bangor University will remain open during this period, and it is also doing everything possible to reduce any possible impact the strike could have on students.
“The University is keen for there to be a rapid negotiated settlement to this dispute,” she added” here.