The UCU strike period 25 November to 4 December has finished, however ASOS (action short of a strike) is being undertaken by UCU members till April 2020.
Throughout the strikes, the Officers and the Students’ Guild have been working hard on a number of fronts:
Proportionately acting to represent students based on the results of the student poll;
Through daily meetings with the university ensuring appropriate mitigation was planned and in place for affected students;
Providing students with regular updates about the strike action;
Being available to answer students’ queries or concerns related to the strike throughout the strike period;
Providing students with resources to use, such as the open letter addressed to Sir Steve Smith and University Senior Management;
Providing up to date detailed FAQ’s;
Providing Students’ Guild presence alongside the picket line.
Following our open letter to the Vice Chancellor, we have also been working hard to get a meeting with University Senior Management to address concerns from students raised during the strike.
Alongside our work, some students from the University also decided to take occupation of a University building and issued their own demands. The University originally offered to meet the occupiers on Monday morning, however, the students requested Guild representation be present at any meeting, as is their right. Following a meeting between the occupiers and Guild officers, an offer was made by the Guild for the occupiers to join the Guild meeting and have a seat at the table in negotiations with University Senior Management. This was rejected by the occupiers as they were not prepared to stop their occupation to negotiate.
This was extremely disappointing to the Guild. This meeting would have provided an opportunity to explore how we could have expanded our open letter to incorporate some of the occupiers demands, as well as addressing the reality that this occupation was negatively impacting many of our students, affecting those who depend on the spaces for their studies, lectures, and wellbeing appointments.
The Guild’s meeting with University Senior Management happened on Tuesday this week with positive dialogue and a commitment to look closely at the concerns we had raised. We would like to thank the University for their willingness to meet with the student occupiers to understand their demands and work towards a conclusion. In addition, the University's FAQ page has provided students with detailed information relating to the strikes including mitigation which has been a useful resource, as well as regular communication to students.
We look forward to receiving further response from Sir Steve Smith and the University to our open letter.