Written for The Critic website:
Strikes and disrupted teaching in Britain and France in December 2019 help focus instructive questions about the relevance of universities. The strikes certainly indicate the need to consider as part of an economy with confused labour relations and a strong sense of entitlement. Lumping together the strikes poses problems. Thus, in my university, Exeter, last Friday 88% of lectures in History were cancelled and 96% in English, but 0% in Medicine and 2% in Engineering. Such figures suggest the value of parting with Union negotiations and switching to individual contracts.