On Thursday 20 February, Mary Foy MP visited UCU (University and College Union) picket lines in Durham City.
UCU members have begun a serious of strikes today (Thursday 20 February) due to an ongoing dispute over fair pay, secure contracts, reasonable workloads and pensions. The UCU feel that universities have failed to make significant improvements on current agreements, and 74 UK universities across the UK will be hit with 14 days of strike action in February and March.
Mary visited picket lines at university sites in the city, and addressed staff and students to express her support for their aims.
“I was really pleased that I could visit UCU picket lines in Durham today. I met some fantastic staff and students who are working together to achieve equal pay, better working conditions, and pension justice. These are reasonable demands which I fully support, and I hope that all parties can come together and reach a solution that works for staff and students.
It is important to remember that no one wants to strike. In this case staff will lose pay and students lose valuable contact hours. But the staff involved have not taken this decision lightly and it is brilliant that the students are supporting them.
I hope to see the dispute resolved quickly, but in the meantime the workers and students have my solidarity and support, both in Durham and in Westminster.”