Leading American academic pulls out of speaking tour at Stirling University in support of striking lecturers

UCU members at the University of Stirling have received a boost ahead of their strike on Monday as leading American educationalist, Professor Michael Apple, has pulled out of a planned lecture in support of their action.

Professor Apple, the John Bascom Professor of Curriculum and Instruction and Educational Policy Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is on a speaking tour of UK institutions.  The university's website says that the planned lecture is cancelled due to 'unforeseen circumstances'.  In fact, in correspondence with the UCU, the renowned scholar confirmed that he had withdrawn because of the industrial action and in support of striking UCU members.

Members of UCU Scotland at Stirling University are taking strike action in a row over pay.  They will be joined later in the week by colleagues at other universities across Scotland including Glasgow Caledonian, Heriot-Watt and Queen Margaret universities and the Glasgow School of Art.

The dispute has arisen following a pay offer of just 1.1% from the universities' employer body, UCEA, after six years of real terms declining pay.  The union is also calling for universities to take steps to address the gender pay gap and to reduce the use of exploitative casual and zero-hour contracts.

Corresponding with the union Professor Apple said: 'As a former president of a teachers' union and a member of a union at my own university, and as someone whose work is directly connected to issues surrounding the relationship between education and power, it is both ethically and politically crucial that I show solidarity with colleagues.  Given what is happening in the higher education sector - and not only there - collective action is even more crucial now and will remain so in the future.  I stand in support of your actions and hope that they make a real difference.'

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'We are genuinely grateful to Professor Apple for his support.  Our members want the best for their students and the very last thing they want to do is go on strike.  To have someone of his stature offer his support will help put pressure on universities to come back with a  fair pay offer.'

Last updated: 21 June 2016

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