Nottingham members of the Association of University Teachers are set to strike on Tuesday. They say it is the only way to force Nottingham and other universities to address their need for better pay and improved job security. They claim a rising student to teacher ratio has made their job too difficult and that they have not received any substantial pay rise in the last two decades.
Lecturer salaries begin at around £24,000 per year, and figures released recently indicate that they do on average nine hours unpaid work per week. If they were to work all of their extra hours for free at the start of the year, lecturers would not start getting paid until March 9th. The figures from the Trade Union Congress reveal that if lecturers were paid for the unpaid overtime that they put in, they would earn an extra £10,216 per year.
There are over 1,000 Nottingham lecturers and researchers who are members of the AUT, all of whom are expected to follow the guidelines set out last week. The guidelines explain: “Members should not: set examinations, mark papers, essays, projects, provide informal guidance to students with regard to their mark, grade or assess progress.”
Mike Byrne, the AUT secretary for Nottingham, added: “Although we are reluctant to damage students’ opportunities, this is the only thing that we can do to show how serious the situation is. It is possible that lecturers will hold out, possibly affecting graduation.”
SU Education officer Katy Dillon agrees: “The Students’ Union believe that students deserve to be taught by motivated and well paid staff and therefore agree in principle with the stance of the AUT. However, our primary focus rests with the students which is why we are concerned over the methods of striking and academic boycott, which may have a detrimental effect on studies.”
Second-year Mathematical Physics undergraduate David McNally says he fears for the future of his degree. “I’m worried about the impact the strike will have on my results, but if the lecturers are doing a lot of unpaid work, then they have a right to do something about it.”