A group of students at the University of Dundee have occupied a corridor in support of striking lecturers at Universities around the United Kingdom. Around 20 students occupied the corridor on Monday morning, and have remained there since – which has included an overnight stay. The group have issued a range of demands, details of which can be found below. The students look set to continue their occupation until these demands are met. They have been supported by a range of groups. Read on for the full story, but first up, a picture from the group this morning.
On Monday morning, around 20 students went to the Management corridor, and subsequently occupied the space by refusing to move. The students apparently spoke to the University Principal and Vice-chancellor Peter Downes for almost an hour. This occupation follows several others across the United Kingdom, with the likes of the University of Bristol and University of Bath witnessing occupations. Those protesting at Bath have done so for over a week. Strikes are being held for a range of reasons, though the ongoing UCU strike is a prevalent factor.
The group have been active on social media, and have outlined three demands. They have urged the Principal of the University to change his stance on the ongoing UCU strike by supporting those striking. They also want the University (and affiliates) to become accredited employers of the living wage. Their third demand is that any wages withheld from striking staff should be placed in a ‘Discretionary Fund’. which would involve paying staff retrospectively, or see funds paid into the student hardship fund. As seen below, the group have set up a petition to garner support.
As mentioned above, the ongoing UCU strike is a considerable bone of contention. Universities UK have announced plans for changing University staff’s pension scheme, in a move that is said would cost an academic over £200,000 in their retirement. This would replace the current model, which provides a guaranteed retirement income. As no agreement could be reached, over 60 Universities in the United Kingdom are engaging in fourteen days of strike action, causing mass disruption. Students have largely supported those on strike.
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The occupation looks set to continue in the near future. The students engaging in the occupation appear to be very motivated, and also seem to have positive support for their actions. They will hope to make a difference, and will hope that their demands are met.