Defend Education Birmingham extends their solidarity to those workers engaging in todays two hour strike action as part of the ongoing dispute around pay within Higher Education. Staff have been offered a 1% pay rise, below the rate of inflation, which translates into a real-term pay cut. The University have failed to adequately address the concerns of lecturers and other staff regarding conditions and pay. Despite the raise in fees to £9,000, lecturers are subject to increases in seminar class sizes, which in turn has an adverse effect on the quality of education that students receive. Staff:Student ratios here are alarmingly high; in 2012 Birmingham ranked 249th in the QS world rankings for the proportion of staff and students (for more on staff conditions and stress, see http://www.defendeducationbrum.org/staff-numbers-and-staff-stress-are-a-student-issue/).
It is important to remember that, whilst the short-term impact of lost class time is an inconvenience for students affected, it is an unfortunate outcome of strike action that occurs when there has been a breakdown in negotiations, and staff feel that they have no other way with which to emphasise their grievances. Staff conditions and pay are essential for the provision of high standards of education to students, and we urge that all students support their staff in this dispute.
Together, in solidarity with our lecturers and our support staff across the campus, we demand that the education that we as students enjoy at this university remains at the highest standard.