Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 1 December 2005

University students:

Hidden - the effects of term-time working

UNIVERSITY VICE-chancellors hid vital research on student debt to avoid criticising the government's higher education policies before this year's general election.

Zena Awad, national convenor Socialist Students

Universities UK (UUK), the vice-chancellors' umbrella body, ordered extensive cuts of "politically contentious" parts of a study on the effect of term-time employment on students.

The evidence showed academic performance suffering for students forced to work in term-time due to financial hardship. Many students admit missing lectures, having difficulty accessing facilities on campus, and producing poor quality assignments.

UUK, which strongly supports the government's top-up fees policy, is accused of breaching "research ethics".

The report told of the high debt students face as a result of New Labour's policies and linked students' term-time employment with poorer performance.

In January 2004, just days before the Bill introducing top-up fees scraped through the Commons by five votes, the report's coordinator complained that UUK was "sitting on" this work. Later, UUK policy chief Bruce removed the chapters revealing this evidence, saying: "This report covers... issues that affect the vital interests of UUK."

Socialist Students say vice-Chancellors on over 100,000 a year, a standard of living far above most workers and students, identify with business interests.

We campaign for universities to be run democratically by committees of lecturers, workers and students. We also fight for mass action by workers and students to defeat New Labour's agenda in education. We fight for decent public funding, an end to privatisation, reversal of the cuts, the abolition of all fees and the re-introduction of a living grant for all.

A MORE recent survey shows that New Labour's attacks on higher education increased dramatically the number of students in work since the end of the 1990s. 50% of students feel forced to take term-time low-paid jobs, typically in bars, cafes and shops, spending less time on academic work and cutting their odds of obtaining a good grade by over a third.

Students from the poorest homes and ethnic minority backgrounds are most likely to work long hours to help pay bills. 90% of all students had taken out student loans with one in five saddled with debts higher than 15,000.

Fighting privatisation in Manchester

University of Manchester Students' Union (UMSU) were pressured by Socialist Students' campaigning to submit a motion to the general meeting to decide policy against the proposed privatisation of a number of the university halls of residence.

Max Toynbee, University of Manchester

However, the motion drafted by the welfare officer didn't oppose privatisation. It implied that selling off 'hard management' (the buildings) is acceptable as long as the 'soft management' (maintenance, cleaning, security) is kept under university control. But this will mean decisions will be made in the interests of companies' profits, and not students.

The Socialist Students' amendment pointed out that rents from privatised halls would go to private companies, rather than benefiting the university and its students. Funding should be provided by government and not by placing further burdens on students already indebted by tuition fees and loans. We added a simple statement: 'This union believes that the university should not privatise any halls of residence'.

Finally, we proposed that the union should launch a campaign of mass action involving demonstrations and occupations, linking up with other workers affected by privatisation.

The following day, the welfare officer phoned me, saying that if I did not withdraw the Socialist Students' amendment, she would withdraw the entire motion from the meeting. She added that it would make the union's position untenable (meaning that it was unacceptable to the university management) and that linking up with other workers affected by privatisation would make the issue too broad for students.

This is rubbish! The workers affected by privatisation are the receptionists, porters, cleaners and various other staff that work in our halls of residence and uniting with them is vital in opposing the university's plans.

In the end the meeting was inquorate [insufficient numbers to take any decisions] but the welfare officer is clearly out of touch with students. On Socialist Students' stalls, students have been very angry about the university's plans.

People don't turn up to general meetings because they don't see what the union is and why they should get involved. Students' unions are increasingly seen as discount providers.

We need to reclaim the NUS nationally and locally, so that we can transform them into combative bodies that fight for their members.

After the meeting some students met up to discuss how to take the campaign forward and Socialist Students members will be ensuring this is followed up through meetings in halls, involving students and workers on the ground.

Building in Stoke-on-Trent

Socialist party members Mandy and Helen have launched a Socialist Student Society at Stoke-on-Trent college, one of the largest FE colleges in Britain.

Helen Blakeman, Stoke-on-Trent

This has generated interest from both students and lecturers and a regular stall has been up and running successfully for several weeks.

Mandy stood for election as the Socialist Students' candidate for the Student Union executive. It meant a mad rush to get posters printed and up but Mandy's campaign emphasised important political issues, making her the only candidate with a political manifesto. As a result she won a seat on the Student Union (SU) executive and Student Council, showing that political interest has definitely been generated through our stalls and campaigning work.

The SU sponsored several students to go to Socialism 2005 and a report will be included in the college student newsletter. Ties with the students union are good and Mandy has already raised several issues, including the lack of nutritious food in the canteen, financial issues, which are important for many students, and the need for a common room for mature students.

The SU have provided the use of a room, complete with television, DVD and computers with internet access, and have supplied posters, leaflets and flyers which should help us to build the Socialist Students Society.

One student has already joined the Socialist Party, following our first ever meeting. The next meeting will show Michael Moore's film Fahrenheit 9/11 followed by a discussion on the war in Iraq.

Progress within the college has been very quick and positive overall and the meetings and stalls we have planned should help to strengthen support for Socialist Students.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 1 December 2005:

Attack on pensions: We won't work till we drop!

Pensions struggles still loom

Don't let the profit system cost us the earth!

'Free market' threatens cold weather crisis

NHS feature: Bring the campaigns together

Campaign for a New Workers' Party

Fight for a political voice for young people!

Hidden - the effects of term-time working

Weakness invites aggression

Workers fight introduction of cheap labour

USA - Lame duck president George Bush waddles on

Exploited workers in Middle East fight back

LSP/MAS mobilises against neo-fascists


Home   |   The Socialist 1 December 2005   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:


triangleLiverpool John Moores Uni landslide for Socialist Students

trianglePlans to launch no-cuts campaign at Kirklees College

triangleDemonstrations by uni students and staff greet Bath vice-chancellor resignation

triangleSocialist Students national conference

triangleBrighton Uni lecturers strike against job cuts


triangleThem & us

triangleSocialist Students day of action demands free education

triangleSocialism 2017 Socialist Students meet-up

triangleMarch for free education! We demand a future!

Socialist Students:

triangleLively student demonstration for free education could have been much bigger

triangleCardiff Socialist Students: Socialism and the struggle for LGBT rights


triangleTamil Solidarity AGM & public meeting

triangleBirmingham South East Socialist Party: Can the Labour Party be changed?

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns



Anti-DOO lobby of Liverpool's transport committee



Unite protest against blacklisting


Donald Trump

Mobilise to stop bigoted billionaire Donald Trump's state visit to Britain



Arriva bus strikers stand firm



BT pensions review - oppose the attacks on the pension schemes



Driving examiners walkout hits first day of new test



School staff strike against privatisation



Brutal rail privateer Abellio takes over Midlands rail services



PCS Left Unity celebrates 40th anniversary at annual conference


North Yorkshire

Court maintains injunction against fracking protesters


Waltham Forest

Waltham Forest Universal Credit protest



Coventry Socialist sales hit 1,000



TUSC conference to debate 2018 elections



Liverpool John Moores Uni landslide for Socialist Students



Plans to launch no-cuts campaign at Kirklees College

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle8 Dec Local government pay: fight for the full 5% claim

triangle6 Dec Strikers rally in Liverpool

triangle6 Dec Corbyn's Labour can defeat Tories with socialist programme

triangle5 Dec Victory at Glenfield shows people power can save our NHS

triangle5 Dec Labour council Blairites deselected

triangle30 Nov Victory: Glenfield Children's Heart Centre saved!

triangle30 Nov Dramatic retelling of Grunwick strike

More ...

triangle12 Dec Birmingham South East Socialist Party: Can the Labour Party be changed?

triangle12 Dec Liverpool Socialist Party: Fighting council cuts

triangle13 Dec Caerphilly Socialist Party: Are we heading for an era of war?

triangle14 Dec Wakefield Socialist Party: Universal Credit - the Tories' latest assault on the poor

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



December 2017

November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017





















Platform setting: = No platform choice