Over 40 lecturers and staff picket Queen Mary’s University

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Lecturers and staff on the picket line at Queen Mary’s University in east London yesterday

A STRONG contingent of over forty lecturers and staff picketed both gates of Queen Mary’s (QM) University in east London on the second day of their nationwide UCU lecturers union strike, fully supported by the National Union of Students (NUS).

Darryn Mitussis, branch chair at QM’s UCU, told News Line: ‘This is a national dispute involving 60 universities. It is a dispute over a combination of pay and inequality issues.

‘We are fighting to eliminate the gender and racial (BAME) pay gap.

‘We want to eliminate precarious employment.

‘And this is important because if universities don’t generate secure jobs then we cannot speak truth to power.

‘Also we are fighting to work a normal working week. Most colleagues work weekends and most colleagues don’t take their annual leave.

‘To compound all of this we have had less than inflation pay adjustments every year, so our pay is falling in real terms.

‘The students union locally and nationally supports us.

‘None of us want our students to graduate into jobs where pay does not keep up with inflation, or whose pay and promotion are inequitable and where workload forces you to choose between work and family time.’

Kasia Mika a lecturer in Comparative Literature said: ‘I’m just starting this precarious job. I am fortunate that I have a longer term contract.

‘It is awful that lecturers are on hourly pay.

‘I have been in that position; it is unsustainable, unethical and highly damaging to our students.’

Ashvin Devasundaran told News Line: ‘I teach Film Studies. This strike is a logical and desirable action against entrenched systems and structures of inequality and injustice.’