As many of you may already be aware, there are ongoing talks nationally between Universities UK (on behalf of the employers) and the trade unions (including the University and College Union, or UCU) on University Superannuation Scheme (USS) pension reform. Following a UCU ballot, members voted for strike action. Dates have been confirmed as:
• 22-23 February
• 26-28 February
• 5-8 March
• 12-16 March
We do not yet know the extent of the action being taken, or the impact that this will have on the University or in individual schools. But we will communicate with you as soon as we have more information and keep you updated on how this will affect you. We will do everything possible to minimise disruption for you.
If you are taking an examination or assessment, your Head of School has been asked to make sure you are informed of any changes and alternative arrangements. If you have any queries about possible changes to your assessment or examination arrangements, your first point of contact should be your School Office.
It is likely that some lectures, seminars and tutorials will be affected. We are asking staff who are participating in action short of a strike to prioritise all activities associated with teaching and assessment, but teaching that is scheduled for strike days may be cancelled. We are not able to give precise details of which classes will be affected in advance as staff are under no legal obligation to inform us ahead of time if they plan to take industrial action.
We are currently assuming that all student-facing services (libraries, careers service etc) will remain open during the strike action. We will send further information if this position changes. Some buildings may be picketed by union members during periods of strike action, but you will not be prevented from entering.
In the meantime, please continue with your academic work, attend scheduled classes, and prepare for any assessments as normal. You will need to attend classes, exams or submit work as normal unless you are specifically notified of any changes. Remember that it is your responsibility to keep up with your studies to the best of your ability.
Whilst we appreciate this strike may be disruptive for you, we support the right of our staff to take strike action and make their voices heard. We know that they will not have taken this decision lightly as they are dedicated staff who want to provide the best possible teaching and support for all their students. We will do all we can to reduce the impact this has on you and keep you updated as best we can.
Professor Judith Squires
Pro Vice-Chancellor (Education and Students)