LSE Strike Action
This statement provides details of the industrial action taking place at LSE and 57 other universities across the UK between 1 – 3rd December 2021, as well as the reasons myself and other members of staff at LSE and across the sector are participating. The statement is directed at students in the IR Department, who will be missing out on valuable teaching in this period.
As a member of the Union, I will be striking and withdrawing my labour for this period. Salaries for all those participating in industrial action will be withdrawn for the days of their participation.
Why is this happening now?
Staff are striking over two core struggles, both of which pertain to the damaging changes made to the higher education sector over the past decades. The first dispute is over pensions, and the second over the “four fights” (falling pay, the gender and ethnic pay gap, precarious employment practices, and unsafe workloads). More information can be found about each here.
As you will be aware, universities are sites of increasing inequality, with record numbers of teaching staff employed on low pay and precarious contracts, with zero security about whether they will be employed year on year. At LSE, gender and racial pay gaps persist, as they do across the sector as a whole. Across the UK, university staff are facing an increasingly extractive working environment. All of these conditions are passed on to students, who must bear the burden of faculty and other teaching staff who have less and less time and resources at their disposal to devote to student education. Our working environment is your teaching and learning environment. In alliance with universities across the UK, LSE is striking in protest at the failure of our employers to address these conditions.
At the same time, in a period when we have tried our best to maintain teaching standards, throughout the pandemic, and through some of the most difficult moments of our careers, our employers have chosen to respond by making huge cuts to our future livelihoods at the cost of our pensions. We can’t accept this.
UUK have refused to renegotiate on pensions. In taking this action, the Union is aiming to get our employers back to the negotiating table, to withdraw the proposed revaluation measures, and seek a transparent, prudent, and evidence-based solution.
None of us participating in the strike took the decision to do so lightly. We are acutely aware of the difficulties students are already facing in their educational experience by virtue of the pandemic, and we know how challenging the past two years of disrupted classes have been. Yet this is precisely why it is so important to highlight - and push back against - these threats in this moment. You should not expect your teachers to make up unpaid work - or classes - missed through strike action. The action is designed to disrupt the university, and this includes students' studies. While we do not want our students' education to suffer, we do want to preserve the learning environment for all of us over the long-term. To do this, we need to send a meaningful message to university administrators, and we believe strike action is now the most effective way to make this message heard. The pandemic has exposed many of the vulnerabilities of the political and economic status quo, and these same vulnerabilities threaten our teaching, and undermine our collective wellbeing. As social scientists, we know intimately the central role trade unions and labour movements have historically played in building solidarity, resisting oppression, and rejecting inequality. Striking and picketing can be a formative part of political education. I am excited to support a labour movement that has been central to the pursuit of justice and equality for many decades, and I hope students will join with us to continue this education through direct action. This movement needs our support now more than ever.
How can you help?
If you are a student at LSE, please express your dissatisfaction about any disrupted classes by supporting our demands in your communications with university administrators and by urging that the union's demands are met. Please do not penalize instructors for missed material.
Please join the pickets with your IRD colleagues, and colleagues across the school: https://twitter.com/DrKMillar/status/1465245112569671682?s=20
Please also consider showing your support by signing the NUS petition, available here: https://email-nus.org.uk/p/5BGA-9DB/strike-letter
There will be a rally on Friday, called by the London regional office of UCU:
Finally, please do let your teachers know that they have your support. It means a lot.