Socialist Worker

Uniting lecturers and students in higher education

Issue No. 1999

University lecturers continued their exams and marking boycott this week as the bosses conceded that they must offer a better pay deal to end the dispute.

A lecturer at Dundee University told Socialist Worker, “Students themselves know that this is not simply about pay but about the future of higher education.

“This dispute is about stopping management raising costs to students while lowering costs for – all to ensure that universities are ripe for privatisation.

“University workers support for the action also demonstrates that it is not simply for 1 or 2 more percent on pay. It’s about the very future of the sector.

“That choice is between a free education system for all and accountable to the people who use and produce it or an expensive education system for the few whose aim is to maximise profits for its private owners.”

A number of colleges are attempting to break the strike by getting post graduate students and teaching assistants to mark undergraduates’ work.

In Aberdeen students have been active in organising solidarity with lecturers on action short of a strike.

Penny Howard told Socialist Worker, “The response has been brilliant – after only 2 days 466 students have signed a petition to support fair pay for lecturers.

“On Monday, we strung up a huge banner between trees on campus that read ‘Fair pay for lecturers, Fair chance for students.’ We also hung out the university’s ‘dirty laundry’ – clothes pinned up on ropes strung between trees that carried messages in support of the lecturers.

“The University of Aberdeen’s management has been among the most aggressive in the country, and they are panicking.

“University management has been trying to quietly recruit postgraduate students to replace the work of lecturers during exams, but postgraduates have also been organising!

“So far, postgraduate students in 13 different departments have signed a statement saying they will not replace the work of lecturers during exams, and they will explain to the students that they tutor how to appeal against the results if examination procedures are violated.”

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Sat 6 May 2006, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1999
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