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The students’ union is fully backing our staff on strike - facing cuts to their pensions of up to 40 percent, this represents one of the most sweeping attacks on education in recent history. As well as the fact that many research students at UCL will themselves be on strike, it’s important that we defend our staff and their rights in the academic community of which we are a part.

Under the changes proposed by the university managements who oversee the sector, employer guarantees to fund staff pensions will be revoked; this essentially means leaving the income staff will have upon retirement at the capricious will of the stock market. In other words, what a lecturer pays into their pension fund will no longer have any direct bearing upon the what they receive at the end of their career.

What staff are facing are one of the most absurd effects of marketisation yet seen in higher education. It is part of the wider effort to turn our universities into systems that act more like private companies, and which treat education like a commodity and our staff like service providers rather than teachers and researchers.

It is absolutely crucial that the UCU win in this fight. To lose in one of the biggest industrial actions ever to take place on our campuses would be deeply demoralising and could break the strength of our academics’ union for a generation.

But supporting our staff on strike isn’t the only way that we can push back against this agenda. Last year, the government introduced a series of reforms to higher education that included within it a new ‘Teaching Excellence Framework’ - essentially a league table designed to rank universities on spurious metrics in order in long-term to create a market out of higher education, for example by allowing those which perform best in this system to charge greater fees than those that perform worst.

It’s a framework designed to accelerate the process of incentivising universities to invest in things like marketing and capital investment rather than in teaching, research or student support services.

We can stop this going ahead. One of the main metrics used in the TEF is the National Student Survey - a brief and largely useless survey (described by the Royal Statistical Society as junk data) completed by final year students. Last year, UCL students took part in a successful national boycott of the NSS - as a result of which the government was forced to make a series of changes to its reforms, even encouraging the House of Lords to sever the link between tuition fees and the TEF.

But the TEF uses a three-year rolling average of the NSS, which means that in order to be successful long-term the boycott needs to be continued.

If you are a final year student you have an opportunity to help disrupt the government’s attempts to kill of public education in this country and all the ramifications that’ll have on students and staff at UCL.

Do not fill in the National Student Survey - and support staff on strike!