Millions of students have faced disruption as university staff have taken part in striking, but the planned action during February and early March “is no longer going ahead.”
University and College Union (UCU) and Universities UK, have announced in a joint statement on Friday that a valuation for 2023 is: “Likely to reveal a high probability of being able to improve benefits and reduce contributions.”
Strike action will not take place as planned throughout the rest of February, however strike dates in March are still due to go ahead.
More than 70,000 university staff members from 150 universities across the UK have taken part in the industrial action for better pay, working conditions and pensions.
At both Bournemouth University and Arts University Bournemouth campuses, staff have been taking part in the industrial action strikes: “It is a bit of a cliche, but we really do have no other choice. We are literally on our knees, and we all are at breaking point,” said Ian Dolan, AUB’s Branch secretary for UCU.
Dolan added: “None of us wanted to be doing this. It fills us with fear to disrupt students learning but we are just exhausted, and workloads are too high.”
Staff at both Bournemouth University and Arts University Bournemouth said they strongly urged students to contact their Vice Chancellor and local MPs in attempt to prevent further strike action.
The UCU said it was offered an improved pay deal for 2023-24 worth between 5% and 8% on 25 January, but that was simply “not enough”.
Bournemouth University student, Isobel Grant, said: “I arrived for a lecture at 9am, and the lecturer didn’t turn up due to strikes. I pay to live in the area for university and I pay for a bus pass which is a lot of money to go to waste when living on a strict student budget.”
Another BU Student, William Dobson-Clark, said: “I really understand why teachers were striking, but at the same time it has already had such detrimental impacts on us as students that are impossible to just ignore.”
Advanced Higher Education Surveys in recent years, have shown that 1 in 2 teaching staff have experienced forms of depression, anxiety, and fatigue as a result of “tough and unfair working conditions.”
Hannah Packham, Southwest Regional Secretary for the National Education Union, said “The Government could not expect strikes to be averted unless it brings forward concrete proposals for increasing pay.”
Industrial Strike action is set to continue throughout February and March, with February 1st offically having marked the biggest day of industrial action in over a decade.
Dolan said: “We are really sorry to all our students. We are aware of how disruptive it has been to their learning, but we just had to do this.”