Hundreds turned out to take part in the NUS UK student strike, in London, to fight against students being ‘priced out’ of their futures and for a better education system.
The protest, which took place in Bloomsbury, London yesterday, Wednesday March 2, came on the fifth day of strikes by UCU union members at 63 different universities over workload, pay, casualised contracts and equalities.
Over 700 people flocked from all over the country to the capital – along with the hundreds more standing in solidarity at campuses in Liverpool, Manchester and Sheffield – in order to protest for better education and against the Government’s announcement, last week, stating changes to the tuition fee repayment system.
The new proposals would have students, who begin degree courses in 2023, start paying back their loans when their graduate salary hits £25,000 – whereas the current threshold is £27,295.
Speaking at the strike, NUS Vice-President for Higher Education Hillary Gyebi-Ababio said these proposals would have some people ‘priced out of our future’.
“We have stood against war and apartheid, campaigned to bring security and cleaners in-house, demanded funded mental health support, stood shoulder to shoulder with striking staff, fought against zero hour contracts, forced universities to take action on sexual violence, made changes in housing law,” she said.
“We have organised, decolonised, occupied, and divested. But this is only the beginning. Today, let’s send a message loud and clear – from Torrington Square to the corridors of Whitehall – students are here to take back what’s ours.
“As we are being priced out of our future and locked out of education by a racist, classist, ableist government, we are here to say no more.
“Never again will students be made to feel unsafe on their own campuses, exploited for rent, and left to work jobs on insecure contracts.”
Fraser Amos, a Masters student at Goldsmiths University who attended the strike, said it filled him with ‘energy and hope’ and explained how ‘incredible’ it was to see all the students come together.
He said: “The student strike filled me with energy and hope. It was incredible to see students come down to London from different regions and nations across the country, and it was a reminder that if we organise we can win a free, decolonised, democratised education.
“Walking out of university on the same day that UCU staff walked out for their latest day of strike action was a reminder that our struggle, our working and learning conditions are shared.”