Kingston University has attempted to play down the strike action last month leading to frustration from the UCU

Strikes: Kingston University claims striking staff were in minority

Just 65 Kingston staff were officially on strike last month despite claims that up to 80 per cent of staff were not teaching.

The former acting Vice Chancellor David Mackintosh said:  “The UCU industrial action on 24 March was well organised and peaceful.

“We understand that 65 people have informed the University that they were on strike on this day. We are only aware of a couple of classes having being (sic) cancelled.”

But Dr Andy Higginbottom, UCU’s Membership Secretary, said the turnout of 65 strikers from a total University staff of 2,500 was still strong enough to make a point.

“We had pickets at three of the four main sites. The pickets were far stronger than they have been in the past at Kingston.

“We have had many indications from colleagues that many did not teach that day, the silent majority of staff is with us.

“It is true that staff have been unwilling to disrupt teaching, but this goodwill is close to exhaustion.

“The strength of our case on pay and pensions is overwhelming – we are facing a combined cut of 15 per cent over three years. 

Stephanie, a first year Bio Medicine student had a whole day cancelled.

She said: “They sent us an email, I didn’t realise there was a strike, but there was no difference for me.  It was sort of like a nice holiday.”

Emma, a third year Sociology student, said she wasn’t really affected.  She said:  “I came in to do work anyway, so I didn’t think much of it.

“I think they moved my class to next week.”

A Kingston University spokesman said:  “There were picket lines at the University’s main sites, but activity was very quiet and non-disruptive.

“The University is only aware of a couple of classes which were cancelled on Thursday and it appears that academic staff planning to strike had, in the main, rearranged lectures and tutorials to ensure their students were unaffected by the action.”

Dr Higginbottom held out the possibility that there could be more strikes in the future at KU. “We are in consultation with our national union which is still considering what next step, this may be further strikes or action short of a strike.”

Were you affected by the strike action on March 24?  Let us know whether your class was cancelled or if your work was affected.

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