Philip Glanville, Labour Mayor of Hackney, joined a picket of striking university lecturers this morning to show his “solidarity”. The picket, outside Loughborough University’s London campus, located in the former Olympic Park, was part of ongoing industrial action by the University and College Union (UCU) in a dispute about pensions.
Glanville stated that he’d “come to support the lecturers who work here”, and that he’d already “been here several times”. He argued that university “Vice-Chancellors have become very detached from the rest of the system” and partially attributed the strike to the “impact of austerity on all parts of the university system”.
Also on the picket line was Dr Rohit Dasgupta, who lectures on Media and Creative Industries. Dasgupta asserted that universities are “happy to take money from international students but not pay a decent wage to lecturers”. He added that the offer made by Universities UK, and rejected by UCU members, was “really bad” and that he “stands in solidarity with all my other colleagues. Dasgupta, who is standing as a Labour candidate in the upcoming local elections, argued that the strike is linked to a wider issue and that he also wants “an end to the marketization of higher education”.
Dasgupta’s concerns were echoed by Dr Louise Scholes, who teaches entrepreneurship, who explained that she had joined the strike as “our pensions are threatened” before adding that she thinks an “independent body” is needed to resolve the dispute.
Speaking to the Hackney Post Professor Mike Caine, Dean of Loughborough University’s London campus, called for a “creative rethink from all sides” describing the dispute as “unnecessary and wholly unwelcome”.