The Great Strike of 2018 – UK Higher Education After Marketisation

Type: Panel
Sponsor Groups:
Poster #:
Day: 4/12/2018
Start / End Time: 5:20 PM / 7:00 PM (MDT)
Room: Grand Ballroom A, Sheraton, 5th Floor
Organizers: Andrew Baldwin
Chairs: Andrew Baldwin


From February 22-March 16, university academic and professional staff in the UK HE sector undertook a total of 14 days industrial action in response to proposed changes to the Universities Superannuation Scheme that would result in the scheme shifting from a defined benefit model of pension provision to a defined contribution model. The industrial action is currently ongoing in the form of Action Short of a Strike (i.e., working to rule, or working to contract) and, depending on the outcome of a current ballot put to members of the University and College Union on a proposed resolution, strike action will resume in the coming weeks with the intention of causing major disruption to exam marking and the release of marks. This is an unprecedented level of industrial action in UK HE. The purpose of this panel is to draw attention to the issues at stake in the strike and to think collectively about what these issues mean in relation to Geography but also in relation to the wider neoliberalisation of higher education in the UK and around the world. Indeed, in many respects, Geography and geographers have been at the forefront of both sides of the dispute in ways other disciplines have not. The geographer Adam Tickell, now Vice Chancellor of Sussex University, has been a key advocate for dismantling the current pension regime, despite having built an academic career arguing against the ravages of neoliberalism, while many on the panel have themselves played a key role in support of the industrial action through picketing and the creative and sustained usage of social media, especially Twitter. It is furthermore rumoured that various special guests might also be in attendance at the panel session. But who? Join us to find out.


Type Details Minutes
Panelist Jo Grady University of Sheffield 8
Panelist Felicity Callard Birkbeck, University of London 8
Panelist Tariq Jazeel University College London 8
Discussant Ian Shaw The University of Glasgow 8
Discussant Jessica Jacobs Queen Mary University of London 8
Discussant Amy Horton University College London 8

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