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5th April 2018

New wave of strikes to affect Manchester students

Industrial action is set to affect University of Manchester students when they return from the Easter break, and could extend into the summer assessment period
New wave of strikes to affect Manchester students
Image: Vita Student @ Flickr

University of Manchester staff will go on strike during the first week of teaching after the Easter break.

The UCU announced on Thursday 29th of March that 12 UK universities would be affected by a full week of industrial action, to be carried out between the 16th and the 20th of April. The University of Manchester is among the 12, which also includes the University of Oxford, the University of Leeds, and the University of St Andrews.

A UCU news release stated that these strike days could be extended and expanded to 65 universities, “aimed at targeting the last weeks of teaching, and the exam and assessment period.”

14 days of strikes took place at the University of Manchester before the Easter break, between the 22nd of February and the 16th of March, seeing hundreds of teaching staff cancel lessons, postpone practical sessions and push back deadlines.

On 13th March, staff from the University of Manchester unambiguously decided to reject the ‘transitional benefit arrangement’ agreement that had been proposed by UUK and UCU.

The UCU pledges to continue with strike action until the dispute is resolved. If an agreement is not reached in the coming weeks, they stated “there would be action targeted to hit teaching and the exam and assessment period at all 65 universities, to be confirmed at a later date.

“How many strike days institutions would face during the exam and assessment period would depend on any earlier action in April aimed at teaching.”

Despite the university emailing students with reassurances that they “will seek to ensure that the impact on students is minimised while at the same time maintaining high academic standards,” the general consensus from students is that they are worried about their futures.

Lauren Coleman, a second year Genetics student, stated: “We’re having to teach ourselves subjects that lecturers can’t guarantee are not going to be examined, which is really stressful and frustrating.”

Dorian Loetzer from the Take Action! UoM campaign, which now has over 600 members on its Facebook group, said: “We continue to stand in full solidarity with staff” regarding the newly announced strike action.

He went on to say, “considering the severity of the cancellations at hand, we have also elected to escalate our response.” This amplified response is a way to ensure that “students will not be the voiceless victims of this process.”

The university has been approached for comment regarding the impact this newest wave of industrial action will have on students.

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