Prospective student’s and their parents visiting Winchester University yesterday had to first cross a picket line – of striking lecturers.
Teaching staff at the uni were out on strike as part of the University and College Union (UCU) nationwide strike action over pay and conditions and at Winchester the strike coincided with the university’s open day disrupting the normal schedule.
Winchester UCU members picketed outside the entrances to both the Sparkford Road and the West Downs campus on Romsey Road from 8:30am till 3pm, leafleting and lobbying parents of possible future students.
Mick Jardine, Winchester UCU Branch Chairman, told Eastleigh News:
“I think it’s been very successful, we talked to quite a few parents and students and handed out leaflets explaining why the large student debt they are about to take on is not good value for money, because the money is not going to pay for staff expertise, its going into the bank or it’s going on Vice-Chancellor’s pay, or it’s going on beautification of the campus, so it’s bad for students and we’re getting that message across to parents and applicants to the university.’
A spokesperson from the university said:
“This is a national pay dispute and the university will continue to work at a national level to help bring it to a swift conclusion. Providing a great experience for students is a top priority for us, so we are pleased to have been able to welcome so many potential students and their families to our open day.”
This latest dispute has arisen following a 1.1 percent pay offer from the university’s employers UCEA.
The union said that universities could afford to pay more and that the recent pay offer doesn’t address the ‘real-term’ pay cut of 15% that some staff have suffered since 2008.
The UCU has also called on the university to do more to address the gender pay gap and the “casualisation” of the workforce; the amount of staff and lecturers on hourly paid or zero hours contracts.