NUS to Students: 'Don't cross the picket line'

  • 1 million students affected as 64 unis hit by strikes
  • Lecturers are striking for four weeks over pension changes
  • Disruption has started already as pro-strike students disrupt lectures and block buses

NUS leadership have today and yesterday expressed support for lecturers taking part in the UCU strike over pension changes, going as far as to instruct students not to 'cross the picket line'.

Robbie Young, the Vice President for Society and Citizenship, tweeted that he had "spent this morning on the picket with staff at Durham Uni", before telling his followers: "Remember - Don't cross the picket line".  The tweet was later shared by the NUS' official twitter account.

Both Young and the NUS Press Officer refused to expand on this and wouldn't clarify whether the NUS is telling students not to attend university while the strikes are on.  Instead, they sent us a pre-written statement: "Academic staff have been left no choice but to take action after Universities UK (UUK) have refused to continue negotiations with the University and College Union (UCU). We will reiterating our support for academic staff and are clear that responsibility for the disruption lies solely with institutions – therefore we urge university leaders to return to the negotiating table before more damage is caused."

Around one million students are thought to be affected by the strikes, which are taking place over four weeks, starting today.  Lecturers at 64 universities, including top institutions such as Oxford, Cambridge, York and Kings College, are striking over proposed changes to their pension schemes.  The UCU (University and Colleges Union) claim that lecturers will be left an average of £10,000 worse off as a result of the changes.  However, UUK (Universities UK) - the group that represents universities' higher management, says the changes are necessary to address the £6bn black whole in the funds.

The strikes started today, and are already causing disruption at a number of universities.  At Sussex, there have been reports of students interrupting lecturers in support of the strikes, and videos shared on twitter show them stopping blocking buses getting to campus:

Other videos from Sussex show pro-strike students shouting down lecturers who decided against taking strike action.

NUS to Students: 'Don't cross the picket line' NUS to Students: 'Don't cross the picket line' Reviewed by Student Voices on 12:05 Rating: 5

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