YUSU has released a survey asking students for their stance on upcoming industrial action, following the announcement of UCU strikes beginning in Week 7.
The strikes are due to start on Thursday 20th February and escalate each week, ending with a week-long walkout from Monday 9th to Friday 13th March. Specific dates for the strikes can be found here.
The strikes were announced on Monday 3rd February and will be taking place in 74 universities across the country, including York. The number of striking universities has increased from 60 in November. Currently, the strikes are on track to roughly triple in the estimated number of contact hours lost.
When asked whether the survey, sent out via email, will be the only method of gauging student opinion on the upcoming strikes, YUSU President Samara Jones responded: “Students will have another opportunity to voice their opinions next week at the Student Forum – we are still working at the details of this event but hope to have information published about it soon.”
The strikes in York are over two issues: reduced pensions and casual contracts.
The UCU is also concerned with gender pay. According to their site, in 2018 university leaders came under fire after the first official gender pay gap data showed that women in UK universities were paid a mean hourly wage that was, on average, 15.9 per cent lower than their male colleagues.
Many students feel divided on the issue. A considerable student corpus was visible supporting the strikes in the last week of November. However, there is also a large number who feel that students bear the brunt of the disruption. Those in their third and final year of uni have been most affected by the strikes in 2017, 2019, and now 2020. For some departments, this cuts short their final taught term. Some students hope for reparations after the strike period.