Members of the University and College Union (UCU) at every Further Education college in Northern Ireland staged a one-day strike on the 24th March. The UCU cites issues with pay and workload, and only receiving a 3.8% pay increase over the last seven years.
Queen's University now joins Glasgow and Manchester in locking down halls of residence due to Covid-19 outbreaks. Within the first week of the university term, 30 students in Elms Village in south Belfast have tested positive for the virus. Fears of rising infection rates and the limitations of health and safety measures have been ignored by management in favour of forcing lecturers, support staff and students to participate in in-person classes without a uniform policy of sanitisation, mask-wearing and social distancing.
Following 8 days of heroic industrial action by UCU members at 60 Universities, our employers are trying to give the appearance of concessions. In reality they have offered no concrete promises. This time, workers at 14 more universities will join the picket lines after smashing the Tories undemocratic anti-union laws at the second attempt.