Staff do not take the decision to strike lightly. It will put many of us in a tough financial position; we have rent, mortgages, childcare to pay for. We don’t enjoy disrupting education and we are glad that the pay we lose will go into a student hardship fund rather than being lost in Cambridge University’s general funds. But in the long run this strike will defend the interests of staff and students alike.
With the proposed changes, a typical member of staff might well get £10,000 a year less in each year of retirement. This will hurt early-career academics more than senior ones, since they have fewer benefits already built up in the pension scheme, while still repaying student loans and facing a grim housing market. We are also protesting against the marketisation of the sector, which drives up fees and increases class sizes for students, and encourages overwork and insecure contracts for staff. This is all part of a much bigger process of marketisation and financialisation in higher education, as universities are run increasingly like businesses: something that is not good for society. If senior management wins this struggle, in the long run, we all lose.
This is why staff have to pressure employers on the only thing they care about – the student experience that brings fee income. The employers have enormous power to demand new negotiations from the USS trustees. But we need student support. We urge students to complain to the VC and make clear that we all deserve better than the disruption caused by the intransigence of UUK: email@example.com.
Who to complain to about the disruption
Our VC, Prof. Stephen Toope. Here’s a form you can use to contact him.
But contact the following people too, drawing on this email.
- Pro-VC for HR, Eilis Ferran: Eilis.Ferran@admin.cam.ac.uk
- Pro-VC for Education, Graham Virgo: Graham.Virgo@admin.cam.ac.uk
- Masters/heads of your colleges
- Heads of School
- Arts and Humanities, Prof. Martin Millett: firstname.lastname@example.org, SAHhead@admin.cam.ac.uk
- Biological Sciences, Prof. Abigail Fowden: email@example.com, HoSSecretarySBS@admin.cam.ac.uk
- Clinical Medicine, Prof. Patrick Maxwell: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Humanities and Social Sciences (Prof. Phil Allmendinger, email@example.com
- Physical Sciences, Prof. A.L. Greer: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Technology, Prof. Richard Prager: email@example.com)
- Heads of Department (check your faculty webpages to find out who they are)
CUSU is calling on students not to cross picket lines, to boycott lectures and to complain instead to management on behalf of staff. There will be more student rallies to follow the brilliant one of Feb 22 (video here). In the meantime please come and show your solidarity with us by visiting our picket lines and handing out flyers!