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University of Nottingham strikers appreciate support on picket line over pay and pensions

Staff manned picket lines at the University of Nottingham today in a protest over pay and pensions, with one group at the University tram stop saying they appreciated the support being shown by passers-by and those backing their cause.

Members of the University and College Union (UCU) went on strike at the university today with picket lines across the campus as part of three-day strike action. Representatives from Unite the Union were also present.

Assistant professor Nick Clare, 34, said he hoped those in positions of power at the university will take notice of the situation.

“Pay has been below inflation and the work load has increased,” he said.

“We’re on strike because these things have been continuing. It’s been going on for years. More and more colleagues are on temporary contacts, not permanent ones and this strike is an attempt to prevent it continuing. It’s unfair.

“We haven’t been supported through the pandemic. The pay isn’t enough.

“Student support for the strikes means the world to us. The Students’ Union also supports the strike. We don’t want to disrupt student learning. We’re here in good faith and the support makes the difference.”

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said the “deeply regrettable” action was needed due to staff concerns over “falling pay, massive pension cuts, equality pay gaps and the rampant use of insecure contracts”.

Staff at 58 UK universities are taking part in the action which will last until Friday, December 3.

Pickets will take place at locations across the University Park and Jubilee Campuses between 8am and 11am.

Lopa Laech, an associate professor at UoN, said:

“The workload is the biggest issue. It’s too much. It’s not fair

“Also we want equality in pay for all genders and races.“



A message from protestors at the tram stop
A message from protestors at the tram stop

Although most university staff are paid a salary which is based on a nationally-agreed scale, the issue of equality was also raised by research fellow Sabina Lawreniuk, who has been on the picket line three times in four years.

She said: “It’s not getting fixed and it’s a nationwide problem.

“It’s not just this uni, it’s the sector as a whole. The strike is a last resort as they aren’t listening to us.

“Students want well paid lecturers. We’re concerned about the structural inequalities.”

Richard Buckwell, retired, 69, was also attending from the Unite the Union Nottingham community branch.

“Here today to support all the workers,” he said.

“Unions need to stick together.

“We want to support people in the community and take action for better working conditions for them.”

A spokesperson for the University of Nottingham had earlier released a statement that said: “We deeply regret any industrial action, particularly at a time when students are re-engaging with life on campus which is so important for their education and wellbeing after the turbulence of the past 18 months.

“The University will remain open throughout the industrial action and the vast majority of teaching and learning will proceed as usual. Students should assume that lectures, seminars and classes will take place unless notified otherwise.

“Schools will explore options to reschedule any sessions affected by industrial action, provide learning resources, extend deadlines where helpful and ensure that assessments reflect the learning that has taken place.”

They added that they were already taking action on the areas under dispute.

Nottingham Trent University is not affected by the strike.

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