Last Thursday, 22nd February 2018, was the first day of fourteen days of strike action against the proposed 40% cuts to the USS pension scheme, called by the University and College Union (UCU). 61 campuses are taking part in the largest strike action in the history of UK Higher Education.
A common argument is that those who work in the architectural sector are ‘professional’; and therefore would not be prepared to strike, or are not ‘in need’ of industrial action in the first place. On the contrary: the multitude of strikes, teach-outs, occupations, and protests, around the USS pension cuts proves collective action is both necessary, and possible. Work in education is part of the architectural industry; whether one is a lecturer, member of administrative staff, teaching assistant, technician, or student. The only difference between architectural workers in the university and in the office is that 48% of people employed in academia are unionised, whilst reasonable estimates put those in architectural practice at less than 5%.
We support our allies across the country!
“The attacks on pensions are indicative of the continued marketisation of universities; including the trebling of tuition fees, cuts to teaching & support budgets and unaffordable accommodation rents. Students are paying to learn how to work in jobs that no longer pay. The financialisation of universities is the sale of students futures: our resistance will be the return on their investments.” Rebel Architects Faction
The Rebel Architects Faction staged an occupation of the Architecture Faculty at Cambridge University, in solidarity with the striking staff on February 22nd 2018. We believe their inditement of the commercialisation of education is resonant with our critque of the architectural profession. Industrial and direct action are one way in which we can resist austerity measures of ‘viability’ and ever-increasing rates of profit for the few.
Members of the Rebel Architects Faction (RAF) occupy Scroope Terrace, in solidarity with striking staff at the Architecture Faculty, University of Cambridge.
Picket lines and occupations are the places to be discussing and enacting alternatives to the status quo. Stand in solidarity with the second wave of strikes this week at campuses across the U.K.