University email addresses strike action concerns

The University of Edinburgh has responded to the eight-day strike which will occur later this month at 60 UK Universities, including the University of Edinburgh, with an email explaining the likely impact on students.

 The strike action, which will also take place at Heriot-Watt University and Queen Margaret University, relates to two different legal disputes: one on pay and working conditions, and the other on pensions, with the UK-wide bodies determining pay and pensions stating that the offers previously made were at the limit of affordability. The University of Edinburgh is among those striking over both disputes, whilst certain other universities will be striking for one issue only.

An official email from the University to all students detailed the effect that the strikes are likely to have, stating that November graduation ceremonies are still scheduled to take place and the impact on teaching and learning will be minimised as far as possible.

A series of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) is to be posted, explaining the strikes and which services will remain available during this time period, with separate information for students, line managers, staff who will be striking, and staff who will not be.

“During the industrial action, you should work on the basis that your studies will continue as normal, unless you are told otherwise,” the email read.

“This means that you should aim to attend scheduled teaching, complete and submit assessments by the relevant deadlines, and continue to plan for any examinations.”

In addition to strike action from the 25 to 29  November and 2 to 4 December, continuous action short of a strike will also occur from the 25 November onwards, such as not rescheduling lectures missed due to the strike and not covering for absent lecturers.

79 per cent of UCU members who voted backed strike action in the pensions dispute, compared to 74 per cent who backed strike action in the workload and pay dispute. Similar ballots for strike action were put forward in the EIS, UNISON, and Unite unions, but did not reach the 50 per cent turnout threshold required in order for action to be mandated.

Updates on the strike action and its impact will be ongoing.

Image: Kim Traynor via geograph.org.uk

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