University strike: 5,000 march in London

Running Time: 8 mins 55 secs

On the third day of the biggest UCU strike in history, 5,000 university workers and students marched through Central London against a 25% pay cut in the last decade; a 35% cut to pensions in the last year; increasing casualisation and huge race and gender pay gaps.

Marketisation of Higher Education has led to billions being generated from student fees (£41 billion in the past year alone) – but that money isn’t going into improving education, still less into improving wages and conditions for staff who are universities’ biggest asset. Instead the money has been squandered on huge salaries for management ranging from £200,000 a year to half a million pounds a year, and wasteful vanity projects buying shiny new buildings that are barely used.

The march ended up at Birkbeck, University of London, a university with a proud 200 year history of providing education to working class people – but now threatened with 150 compulsory redundancies, including half the staff of the english, theatre and creative writing department.

Calls for escalating the strike in the new year to all-out indefinite are becoming increasingly popular as education workers fight to save their sector – and the educational principles of critical thinking it is based on. As one of the workers faced with redundancy says, evoking Paris in 1968: “Be realistic: demand the impossible. We need to demand a worker-run university.”