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‘Enough is Enough’: UoA Lecturers Resolute as First Day of Strike Action begins

Updated: Sep 22, 2023

Picket lines and teach-outs organised as UCU members strike over pension and pay disputes


By Josh Pizzuto-Pomaco and Andrew Cardno

Aberdeen UCU Twitter


Chilly conditions did little to deter scores of UoA lecturers and academics from gathering at picket lines across campus Thursday morning as part of the nationwide UCU Rising Campaign. UCU members have been seeking higher pay and the reversal of pension cuts, as well as an end to temporary contracts.


Members picketed across campus during the morning hours, before returning to the Student Union, where a series of ‘teach-outs’ on various topics were held. As EIS (Educational Institute of Scotland) union members at Scottish primary and secondary schools also struck over an unrelated matter Thursday, a number of lecturers brought their children with them to the picket lines.


According to a talk given by David Anderson, UCU Aberdeen branch secretary, a statistical audit demonstrated that around 1500 staff members at the University were on minimum guaranteed hour contracts. For example, one staff member could work up to 800 hours in the course of a year, but only be guaranteed a minimum of five hours. Anderson told the audience that this essentially meant staff were working full hour contracts under the guise of five hour contracts.


Anderson also commented that employers appeared content with allowing the strikes to go forward, saying that there ‘[seems] to be a real indifference both on pay and working conditions.’


Melanie Whitter, Vice President of UCU Aberdeen remarked that solidarity on picket lines had been amazing and students continued to offer their support.


On Twitter, a number of striking UCU Aberdeen members shared their reasons for joining the industrial action. Dr Ashish Malik, a lecturer at the University tweeted, ‘I am striking for the first time because things are really bad. Only collective action can make a difference.’


Professor David Clough, Chair in Theology and Applied Sciences also commented, ‘I’m striking today with colleagues at @aberdeen_ucu and @ucu nationally because the withdrawal of our labour is the only means left to show VCs that the dramatic erosion of academic pensions and pay and the increasing precarity of academic jobs is unacceptable.’


The strikes return Friday morning with pickets across campus and a new slate of ‘teach-outs’ already planned. Students can keep up to date on what is going on by following Aberdeen UCU at @aberdeen_ucu.


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