NUS-USI supports university staff as strike action agreed

Staff at Queen’s University Belfast and Ulster University have voted for strike action as part of disputes over pensions, pay and working conditions.

NUS-USI has expressed solidarity with University and College Union (UCU) members at Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) and Ulster University (UU) after they voted to strike later this month.

Lecturers and support staff at NI’s two universities will take part in eight days of strike action from 25 November.

Responding, NUS-USI president Robert Murtagh has called for an end to the marketisation of higher education, which is increasingly placing a financial burden on students and staff.

Robert Murtagh, the president of NUS-USI, said:

“The student movement in NI stands in solidarity with staff at our universities, who have exercised their right to strike for better conditions.

“Lecturers and support staff have faced attacks on their pensions, pay and working conditions in recent years. Ensuring a better deal for them will be crucial in giving students the best experience possible.

“Students and staff are being shouldered with the financial burden in our increasingly marketised higher education system, whether that be through tuition fees or pension cuts. Together, NUS-USI and UCU are calling for increased public investment in our universities to deliver a fairer deal for students and staff.

“I encourage students across NI to engage positively with their lecturers and support staff who choose to strike, and support UCU’s campaign to defend pensions, pay and working conditions. The working conditions of staff are the learning conditions of students.

“I now call on our universities to enter into serious discussions with UCU about pay and conditions, and in the meantime ensure plans are in place to keep disruption to students at a minimum.”

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