BBC News has been ripped a new one over its coverage of UCU strikes

UCU strike - sign saying "education is not a commodity"
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On Thursday 24 November, BBC News ran an article on the University and College Union (UCU) strike. It went down like a lead balloon with staff and people on social media alike. This is because BBC News was clearly promoting nonsense propaganda over pay – at the expense of striking workers.

The Canary has been following the UCU’s industrial action. As we previously reported, 70,000 staff at 150 universities walked out on 24 November over pay, pensions, and working conditions. Bosses have cut workers’ pay by around 25% since 2009, while they also want to slash their pensions by 35% too. All this has led to the UCU and its members striking.

Workers were out across the UK:

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Other trade unions showed their support for the UCU:

Pack of lies

Of course, despite this widespread support, our public service broadcaster couldn’t possibly have given balance in its reporting. Instead, BBC News covered the strike with what many people are claiming are a pack of lies.

BBC News ran an article on Wednesday 23 November with the headline:

University Strikes: Will my lectures be cancelled?

And, true to form, the BBC changed the headline  – and it didn’t go down well:

However, what the BBC didn’t change were its claims about university pay:

Film studies lecturer Louis Bayman explained that the infographic from the BBC didn’t even get the basics right:

Another Twitter user had a wry laugh, given that the BBC doesn’t seem to consider how academics are often overloaded and overstretched:

The idea that research assistants could make almost £32k a year was laughable to anyone who’s actually worked in higher education:

Solidarity needed

As the latest UCU strikes kick off, this scandalous reporting from the BBC shows exactly why those of us who believe in workers’ rights need to stick together. Mainstream media can cover up the truth as much as it likes, but workers on picket lines are there to defend their rights and push back against the BBC’s lies. It’s simply not true to present academics’ wages as so high when we know that it’s actually university bosses who take home the big money. Instead, workers are the ones who are overworked. It’s more important than ever to follow the example of union leaders like Mick Lynch and show solidarity with workers no matter which union is on strike – we’re all in this together.

Featured image via YouTube screenshot/Evening Standard

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