Striking staff at Bangor University have decided to provide a series of public teaching events, while on strike. These will be open to all students, all staff and the public.
The first ‘Teach-Outs’ as they’re called, are taking place on Thursday 22, Monday 26 and Tuesday 27 February. The first event on the programme, runs from 1.00 – 4.30 at the Quaker Meeting House, Deiniol Road, on Thursday 22. The ‘Teach-Outs’ on Monday 26th and Tuesday 27th take place in the Vestry of Emaus Chapel on Garth Road/ Love Lane, Bangor.
The programme will be constantly updated with short talks from staff and students who are supporting the strike action.
The strike, by members of the University & College Union (UCU) which involves 61 Universities across the UK, is to fight proposed cuts to Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) members’ pensions.
As Dr Penny Dowdney, President of the Bangor Branch of UCU explains: “University staff have always accepted pay levels that are lower than comparably skilled professions, partly because we had a decent pension.
“Now our right to a well-earned retirement is under attack. We are taking strike action to defend our right to a fair pension. We are fighting against the proposed end to guaranteed pensions which would reduce retirement income for all.
“The damaging proposals would effectively destroy the current USS pension scheme, leaving UCU members’ future pensions at the mercy of the investments market.”
One of the “teach-out” co-ordinators, Dr Alison Cameron states: “University staff are very aware of the University’s deep roots in the community and the sacrifice made by local people, especially the quarry workers, who made regular financial contributions to establish the University.
“The city and the university are inter-connected; historically, socially, and economically. Staff feel forced into striking to protest the proposed cuts to their pensions, but feel that it is very important to demonstrate to students and the community that we are committed to teaching, which is why we want to share our learning as widely as possible during the strike period.
“Staff have offered to teach a wide range of topics, and I am particularly looking forward to learning from some student led sessions. We also hope that local people will come to listen to and discuss the interesting topics, and to show their support for the strike.”
The escalating wave of strikes, which begin this week, are planned over a four-week period that 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).
Week one – Thursday 22 and Friday 23 February (two days)
Week two – Monday 26, Tuesday 27 and Wednesday 28 February (three days)
Week three – Monday 5, Tuesday 6, Wednesday 7 and Thursday 8 March (four days)
Week four – Monday 12, Tuesday 13, Wednesday 14, Thursday 15 and Friday 16 March (five days)