Universities UK offices occupied by students as part of #USSstrike
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The offices of Universities UK in Central London are being occupied by students this afternoon.
Students are protesting in solidarity with university staff as part of the strike action that is taking place across the country today.
In a post on Pastebin the protestors write that Universities UK (UUK) is “a parasitic organisation which profits directly from the increasing marketisation of our education system” and that the organisation was responsible for the proposed “theft of pensions from our academic staff.”
Lecturers at more than 60 universities are striking over proposed reforms that could see them lose around 40% of their current expected pension in retirement.
The strike action will affect more than a million students, with the more than half a million teaching hours expected to be lost.
UUK is the representative organisation of universities in the UK, with an aim to “maintain the world-leading strength of the UK university sector”.
Students entered the UUK offices in King’s Cross at around 12.30pm today, posting on Facebook from inside the building:
The following statement was posted on Pastebin:
UUK IS IN OCCUPATION
In solidarity with our striking comrades, we confront the commodifiers of our education!
Universities UK (UUK) are a parasitic organisation which profits directly from the increasing marketisation of our education system. It is UUK who lobbied for raising tuition fees: a 200% rise from 2004 to 2010 alone. It is UUK who have proposed the theft of pensions from our academic staff, which will disproportionately affect those in already casualised positions, many of whom are women and people of colour. It is UUK who refuse to come to the negotiation table, putting profits before the education of students and the living conditions of staff, and precipitating the strike action which has seen students lose contact time which the agitation of UUK for tuition fees has forced us to pay for.
We believe in life after work – and in an education system designed to educate, not merely to make money for a parasitic management class, be that the Chancellors, Vice Chancellors, and Directors of our universities, or the profit seekers who run UUK. With usual incomes of 350.000£ - 450.000£ a year, it is the university managers in UUK who benefit from those malicious policies. The relentless quest for profit which has corrupted our education system and left thousands of people with virtually insurmountable debts is the logic of a capitalist system which understands only how to extract until there is nothing left. This is class war and we’re sick of it.
UUK have escalated this dispute. We are here today to tell them that we are ready not only to match their escalation, but to take it further if UUK remain unwilling to come to the negotiation table. This is a war not only for the futures of our comrades on strike, but also the future of our entire education system, and not only are we ready, we are aching to fight it. UUK lets fucking GO!
FUCK UUK! FUCK ALL UNIVERSITY MANAGEMENT! WE WON’T STOP UNTIL WE WIN!
The lecturers’ strike action is expected to last around a month, although could continue until July – potentially affecting summer exams.