For the other side of the story, read Jasmine Humphrey’s description of the dangers of the strike.
It’s often hard to properly empathise with the position of the strikers when you have been personally inconvenienced by their actions. I still remember the anger with which my friend and I greeted the news that, due to industrial action on the part of French railway workers, we would arrive at our destination in Germany several days late. Many of us studying here at St Andrews — especially those of us who must pay for our education — will justifiably be upset that our lectures and tutorials will be cancelled, our essays and assignments left ungraded, and our lecturers and tutors unresponsive.
Some of the more right-leaning students here at St Andrews will no doubt be put off by the prospect of supporting a labour union in words or in deed, and even more so by taking the same side as the Socialist Society. But if you believe in the free market and in the right of every person to decide the price at which they are willing to sell their labour, surely you see that the lecturers would only be acting in their own rational self-interest – independent of any ideological convictions or the idea of someone “deserving” a certain pay – by striking. In the face of the loss of over two hundred thousand pounds total per lecturer, and with the other side of the negotiating table being left empty, it would be borderline insanity for them not to take drastic measures.
We as students (and therefore as consumers and customers of the University) should also act in our own rational self-interest. We have rights, too, and we should demand them loudly and with conviction: if we lose valuable term-time to the negligence of organisations which refuse to come to the negotiating table, we deserve some sort of compensation from the University.
In the meanwhile the University and College Union, which is organising the strike, recommends students support their lecturers by not showing up to classes on the days when industrial action is planned.