Tuesday, 23 March 2010

A turbulent week for higher education funding

The week started with Sally Hunt on the front of the Guardian condemning vice-chancellors for another round of massive pay rises, despite promises from Ucea that the excessive rises would be reigned in during the tough economic climate. She said it was no surprise that staff had little confidence in greedy VCs who were now threatening jobs to balance the books. Example of angry staff could be found in both Leeds and Sussex, who were due to strike on Thursday. Sterling work from UCU negotiators secured a groundbreaking deal at Leeds, which led to the strike, and the dispute, being called off.

Details of the ‘Leeds deal’ can be found here:

At Sussex the picket lines were busy from 7am and throughout the day as staff took part in strong action over the 100+ jobs at risk. Staff also lobbied the senate meeting on Wednesday, helped by young protestors from the institution’s nursery which is threatened with closure. The children handed out daffodils and leaflets calling for senate to throw out plans for job losses and the closure of key services, like the nursery. The strike day coincided with HEFCE announcing that four-fifths of English universities will see their funding decrease in the next academic year. News that Sally Hunt condemned across the media, including appearances on BBC Breakfast and the 1, 6 and 10 o clock news. The BBC also spent a large part of the day down in Sussex covering the strike.
Further reading:
Vice-chancellors’ pay, Guardian
Leeds dispute off
Sally on BBC

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