A Note About The Lecturer Strikes
On average, I am scheduled to have 11 contact hours (lectures) per week, not including extra-curricular modules. There are 11 weeks in each semester. For my poor attempt at maths, if we multiply 11 by 22 (total number of weeks in the academic year), we get 242 hours. Then, 9,000 divided by 242 equals around £37 per lecture, most of which last only 50 minutes.
I have already been informed that so far, I will lose 2 hours of lectures due to upcoming strikes. That’s £74. I may then lose another 2 hours, which brings it to £148. Furthermore, there is a possibility that after my half term, there will be more strike days, including a planned five-day walkout from 12-16 March. If this does affect me, and all of my lecturers happen to be on strike, I and other students would have lost around £407 of lectures and valuable information.
Before I continue, I would like to stress my support for my university lecturers, and lecturers across the country: they are not to blame. They are doing what they are within their rights to do, which is defending their pensions. If the government succeeds in implementing this change, current and future lecturers could be left up to £10,000 worse off regarding pensions. This could mean that by the time they are ready to retire from their careers, they then might not have enough income to live comfortably. I don’t know about you but to me it does not sound like an attractive concept.
The government must understand that if there is no financial security, this will serve as a deterrent for potential lecturers. Why would you do a job if you are inadequately paid, or have no certainty of retiring with a decent pension? That’s right: you wouldn’t.
We have seen this happen already with the NHS – nobody should be surprised that we are suddenly in a “crisis”, because the number of doctors and nurses has fallen significantly. The Guardian has reported that since the referendum in June 2016, “around 10,000 EU nationals have quit the NHS” – not only because of the uncertainty, but also because of overworking and underpayment. Similarly, in 2016-17, “just under 33,500 nurses” left the NHS. You can therefore see the correlation between working conditions and number of employees who quit. The same could happen for lecturers nationwide – lecturers who very much want to do their jobs, but who are reluctant to do so if it means making potentially destructive concessions to the government.
I am grateful for my education. Throughout my schooling, I have experienced some pretty low points in terms of government policy shafting people in the education sector, but there have always been a handful of truly dedicated teachers. Now, I find that my lecturers are the same, as some really do go all-out to help their students as best they can. In their position, I would be striking, too. In fact, I would like to take this chance to express my disappointment in the Cardiff University Students’ Union for denouncing these strikes and refusing to support our hardworking lecturers – I believe they cannot see the forest for the trees.
Students, I empathise if these strikes affect your education, I really do, but let’s not lose sight of the ones who are really behind the strikes – Theresa May and her cronies. All they are doing is making unnecessary cuts so they have more money in their own pockets. As you’ve probably now gathered, I’m a bit annoyed, actually.