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“Working Conditions are Learning Conditions” – students at Bath protest in support of the UCU strikes

On the 24th of November 2022, the University and College Union strikes began at universities across the country. However, the University of Bath had some unexpected visitors on campus, as a group of 15-20 students started a protest across campus in support of the staff strikes. Students from various departments and year groups gathered in solidarity to raise awareness about the cause.

First, the group marched with signs of support to the council chambers, playing samba music on drums. It was reported to BathTime that those in the council meeting remarked that the drums could be heard clearly and made it hard to hear what was being said in the room at points.

The students then marched through the southern part of the campus, past the lake and up onto the parade, continuing the samba drums and siren coming from a megaphone, which drew a lot of attention from other students in the surrounding area.

The protestors gathered outside of the library, directly below a sign they had put up calling for answers about where tuition fees go at the university, which was ironically placed next to Bath’s ‘University of the Year’ award.

Members of campus security arrived as the group began chanting on the parade to ensure that the peace was kept among those involved. The protestors then began to shout chants including:

  • “What do we want? Fair pay for staff! When do we want it? Now!”
  • “Working conditions are learning conditions”
  • “Support the UCU”
  • “A pension is not a perk”

One student in the group gave a speech on the megaphone, citing some of their personal reasons for protesting being the 35% pension cut for staff and the proposed 3% pay rise after a decade of pay below the inflation level. After 15 minutes of chanting, first-year students living in Norwood House also showed their solidarity with those on strike, putting up post-it notes in their kitchen that spelt out ‘Stand With UCU’.

After 25 minutes of protest on the parade, the protestors moved down to Arrivals Square, around the campus perimeter, and then returned to the picket lines to support the lecturers.

We don’t know if the group have any other action planned, but we’ll keep you informed as the strikes continue!

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