Interesting discussion over on Crooked Timber. My contribution:
As a current doctoral student, probably planning on academia, I have plenty of selfish reasons for backing the strike. Basically, I’d like to free ride on the actions of current lecturers, in the hope of enjoying a slightly more reasonable salary when I finish.
Thankfully I have had funding for my graduate studies, but I still owe about £13,000 and rising to the Student Loans Company for my first degree. Plus the graduate funding has only been £8k x 2 years plus £12k x 2 years, which is probably a year short of what I need to finish, so will leave me further in debt.
I don’t see how this is supposed to be such a grave harm to existing students. It’s hardly comparable to, say, a fireman’s strike – which is one of the measures that’s seen their pay rise faster than academics.
I do see the points made about not needing an across the board rise though. I think it’s junior academics struggling to get on the housing ladder and pay off their debts that need the money most. Top professors will of course attract some of the money they deserve, but I don’t think anyone needs to be paid that much to do the job…