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City University strike: Students stage sit-in protest in support of lecturers amid pensions row

PUBLISHED: 11:16 16 March 2018 | UPDATED: 11:16 16 March 2018

City students at the sit-in yesterday. Picture: Jasper van Emmerik

City students at the sit-in yesterday. Picture: Jasper van Emmerik

Jasper van Emmerik

City University students showed their support for striking lecturers by staging a sit-in protest this week.

City students at the sit-in yesterday. Picture: Jasper van EmmerikCity students at the sit-in yesterday. Picture: Jasper van Emmerik

The students stationed themselves outside uni president Sir Paul Curran’s office to demand he publish a letter showing unambiguous support for his staff.

The sit-in yesterday came two days after a new offer on university staff pensions was rejected by members of the University and College Union as insufficient.

More than 60 universities around the UK have been affected by the strike, which is now in its 13th day.

Ben Cooke, 23, a journalism Master’s student, said: “Paul Curran can’t himself determine lecturer’s pensions, but he’s a very influential figure in the organisation that does so.

City Uni president Sir Paul Curran addresses City students at the sit-in yesterday. Picture: Jasper van EmmerikCity Uni president Sir Paul Curran addresses City students at the sit-in yesterday. Picture: Jasper van Emmerik

“We think it’s deplorable that he’s not using that influence to prevent the ransacking of the pension scheme.”

Students say they are also angered by the impact strikes have had on their contact hours, especially with UK university tuition coming at such a premium.

Each day of missed lectures takes £69 out of UK students’ pockets, with international students suffering a loss of almost £132 per day. When all the strike days so far are combined, international students have lost £1,860 worth of contact hours.

Tanya Nyenwa, 22, said: “We’re fully in support of the lecturers and are backing them, but it’s unfair that the university hasn’t done anything to compensate us and therefore I will be demanding a refund.”

City Uni chairman Sir Paul Curran addresses students at the sit-in. Picture: Jasper van EmmerikCity Uni chairman Sir Paul Curran addresses students at the sit-in. Picture: Jasper van Emmerik

Sir Paul, arriving at the sit-in, said he had sent a letter out to all university staff indicating his willingness to continue to negotiate in order to arrive at a new offer.

Lecturer strikes are set to cause further disruption during the all-important university exam season in the coming months if no compromise can be found.

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