Socialist Worker

University of Liverpool strikers battle for jobs and education

by Sophie Squire
Issue No. 2756

Picketing on Monday

Picketing on Monday (Pic: University of Liverpool UCU on Twitter)


Workers at the University of Liverpool took to picket lines on Monday for their first round of strikes.

University bosses planned to sack up to 47 staff in the faculty of health and life sciences. This figure has been reduced to 32 after the strike vote.

Strikes were set to continue until Friday this week and then restart from 1 to 4 June and then 7 to 11 June.

The university has ranked workers to justify making some staff redundant.

Mark, a member of the UCU union at the university, told Socialist Worker that the way of measuring lecturers’ productivity is unfair.

“The university is measuring the output of university workers in a way that just isn’t reliable.

“We worked out as a union branch that some Nobel prize winners wouldn’t keep their jobs according to the assessment that the university was using.” 

Mark added that the university has already had to scrap one particular metric of measuring performance due to pressure and replace it with another.

“University management is in complete disorder around this. This means that it is a very winnable dispute,” Mark added.

Impact

On Monday strikers organised to picket in places that would have the greatest impact even though much of the campus is still locked down due to Covid-19.

One striker told Socialist Worker, “On Monday we looked at where workers were teaching in the days going forward we’ll picket outside so we can catch more people and tell them about the strikes.”

Mark added, “We’ve pushed for there to by physical picket lines around campus, constantly making the argument that striking is the way that we win this dispute.”

Almost 300 people attended a strike rally on Monday including student groups and university workers from other institutions taking part in disputes.

University workers and students organise against multimillion pound arts cuts
University workers and students organise against multimillion pound arts cuts
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The university has already attempted to turn students against university workers.

A university spokesperson released a statement saying, “We recognise that industrial action will be a cause of concern for staff and students alike.

“We are particularly disappointed that it has been called during our students’ assessment period.”

But students have not been swayed and organised a solidarity rally for their lecturers.

Strikers have also organised teach-outs and planned to take a knee with other trade unionists across Britain on the anniversary of George Floyd’s death. 

The strikes at Liverpool university are an important battle in the fightback against restructuring to sack workers and drive up revenue.

Messages of support to [email protected] and donate to the strike fund at bit.ly/UCUliverstrikefund

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