Members of the University and College Union are continuing strike action for a fourth week as students prepare to miss out on more lectures.
The UCU is striking over proposed changes to their pension scheme.
Update on ACAS talks on USS pensions reform: There has been constructive engagement on the challenging issues in the dispute. Further talks are scheduled for the next 2 days.
— Universities UK (@UniversitiesUK) March 7, 2018
#USSstrike talks update:
There has been constructive engagement and progress on the challenging issues in the dispute. Talks will continue on Monday, although both sides will be working over the weekend. For the avoidance of doubt, the strikes remain on.
— UCU (@ucu) March 9, 2018
The UCU and UUK met last week to discuss possible solutions to the dispute.
But despite “constructive” talks, UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said the current talks to negotiate the pension scheme have remained “undimmed”.
Conciliation service Acas has been brought in to facilitate the discussions.
The UCU’s national Higher Education Committee met last week to discuss the next steps following the Acas talks.
In a statement on the UCU website, Ms Hunt said: “As things stand there is not agreement at Acas.
“…our negotiators today sought and received the further support of HEC for a series of 14 days of further strikes if no acceptable agreement can be reached.
“These strikes, if they are needed, would be staged in such a way as to maximise disruption to the forthcoming exams and assessment period.”
The UCU say that the proposed changes could see university employees miss out on £10,000 a year.
Petitions have been submitted to Parliament to demand tuition fees are reinbursed for the duration of the strikes.
Some students are estimating that they’ve lost out on about £675 each. That equates to about £650m in total.
Parliament has responded by rejecting the petitions, claiming it is not their responsibility to reimburse students but instead said a decision needed to be made by the universities.
Previously, we heard from University of Sheffield student Heather Horvath who said she felt like ‘collateral damage.’
Now as week three begins, Ms Horvath tells us: “I just don’t know anymore. The students are being unfairly punished. It’s unjustifable.
“If the strikes affect my exams then I’m left feeling like I made a bad decision in coming to university. I don’t want to feel like that.”
What do you think? Do you feel sorry for students missing out their lectures? Maybe you’re jealous of them getting the time off?
Post your opinion in the comment section below and get involved in the conversation!