Bangor University students are seeking compensation as lecturers and other academic staff plan to walk out on 14 days of strike action over a four week period, beginning on February 22.
Members of the University and College Union (UCU) will embark on an escalating wave of strikes over a four-week period, that is likely to affect 61 universities across the UK, and will begin with a five-day walkout either side of a weekend. There will then be four days of strikes from Monday 5 – Thursday 8 March and a full five-day walkout the following week (12 – 16 March).
The dispute centres on Universities UK proposals to end the defined benefit element of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) pension scheme. The UCU says this would leave a typical lecturer almost £10,000 a year worse off in retirement than under the current agreement.
An online petition has now been started asking Bangor University to reimburse all students for teaching and learning time lost due to the planned strikes.
The petition demands that alternatively, they would like the University to listen to lecturer and student demands and work with the UCU to find an amicable solution to the ‘pension pot problem’, that staff are planning to strike about.
The students are unhappy because they are being ‘denied their education’ by the strikes taking place and they feel that they should be compensated by Bangor University.
The petition claims that based on £9,000 a year tuition fees, with the strike lasting the full 14 days, students are set to lose £840 each (£300 paid for every 5 day week). With approximately 11,000 students across the Bangor and Wrexham Campus, this equates to the university potentially paying out an estimated £9,240,000.
Around 100 people have supported the petition so far, one supporter said: ““I am in my final year of my undergraduate degree, thanks to the strike, I am missing valuable lectures which will help improve my chances of getting a high 2:1 or even a first. Without them, I am losing valuable teaching time, as well as the money i have paid to be here in the first place.”
Another supporter said: “My lecturers deserve better and I pay £9000 a year I think that’s enough to give them a decent pension”
Students Union Statement
Bangor University Student’s Union released a statement yesterday about the proposed strike action, which is unrelated to the petition, the statement reads:
“Recently, members of University and College Union (UCU) have voted on strike action against plans to make changes to pensions. Undeb Bangor fully supports all staff at the University and the Trade Union’s right to take action on issues that affect their members, however, our priority is our students and we are working with the University, and Bangor UCU to mitigate against any adverse effects that strike action might have on the student body.
“We urge staff and the University Senior Management to think about how strike action will affect students on their modules and we would like to encourage staff to make alternative arrangements for any scheduled lectures, labs, tutorials etc., which they may miss due to this action. We want to ensure that the student body is fully informed about arrangements during the strike, and that no-one is adversely affected.
We will keep you updated with any information that we have, but in the meantime, if you have any concerns regarding your course, deadlines or how this will impact your time here at University, we would encourage you to speak to staff in your schools. Please do also feel free to contact Ruth Plant the President of Undeb Bangor or Helen Marchant the Vice-President for Education via firstname.lastname@example.org.”