The University and College Union (UCU) have informed the University that their members will be taking an eight-day period of strike action from Monday 25 November to Wednesday 4 December inclusive.  This action is being taken in relation to pay and the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) pension – this is a national dispute involving 60 UK universities.

Examinations will be taking place during the last three days of the strike and these will go ahead as planned.  No exam will be cancelled as a consequence of the industrial action.  You should therefore ensure that you attend your exams and any absence will be treated under the normal regulations.

Teaching and revision sessions will also be taking place during this time.  Some staff may choose to take strike action which may lead to some classes being cancelled.  Where possible, Schools will inform you by email in advance of any such cancellation.  If you have not been informed of any cancellations, you should assume that your classes will go ahead as planned, although you should be aware that some classes may need to be cancelled at very short notice.  In the event that teaching is cancelled due to the strike, you will not be disadvantaged.  Any aspect of teaching missed as a consequence of the industrial action will not form part of any assessment associated with the course.

I would wish to assure you that staff at the University are committed to providing an excellent educational experience for our students and that we are putting in place measures to ensure that the impact of this action is minimised. 

The following Questions and Answers are provided to address any concerns you may have in regard to this period of strike action.  These will be updated as required. If you have specific queries about individual courses, these should be directed to your School office. 

If you have any other more general queries not addressed by the FAQs, you should refer these to academicservices@abdn.ac.uk.

Professor Ruth Taylor
Vice-Principal (Education)

General

How long will the Strike last?

This period of strike action is scheduled to take place from Monday 25 November to Wednesday 4 December 2019.

Can I approach academic staff for help during the Strike?

You should continue to seek advice and guidance from academic staff as normal.  Should a member of staff indicate that they are not able to help due to the Strike then you should contact the Head of School.

How will I know if my classes have been cancelled?

Where classes or planned revision sessions are scheduled, Schools will inform you, where possible, by email in advance of any such cancellation.  If you have not been informed of any cancellations, you should assume that your classes will go ahead as planned, although you should be aware that some classes may need to be cancelled at very short notice.

Am I expected to attend classes on strike days?

Yes.  You are expected to attend scheduled classes which are not cancelled.  Please note any material covered could form part of future assessments.

The revision session for my course was cancelled due to the strike. Will I be able to appeal if I have not had the revision support in advance of my examinations?

Where revision sessions are scheduled to take place in revision week and where, due to the strike, it proves necessary for a School to cancel them, the Head of School will be aware and will ensure that the examiners are made aware of this situation in determining the overall CGS grade for the course(s) concerned.  Provided this has been done, there would be no grounds of appeal.

What impact will missed teaching have on the assessments for my course?

You will not be disadvantaged as a result of any teaching which is cancelled due to the strike action.  Any material missed as a result of the strike action will not form part of any assessment for the course.

Will all staff be involved in the strike?

No. Some academic and some administrative staff may choose to take strike action but the University will remain open and many staff will be at work as usual.

Exams

Will the December exams be cancelled?

No.  Exams will not be cancelled as a result of the strike action.  You should therefore ensure you attend all your exams as normal.  Absence will be treated under normal regulations.

 

Who will set examinations if it is not the course co-ordinator?

All exam papers will have been set by academic members of staff ahead of the period of strike action and, as normal, will have been approved by the relevant External Examiner.

Who will invigilate my examinations?

The University will ensure that all examinations are appropriately invigilated.  In line with the University’s Rules for the Conduct of Prescribed Assessments and Written Examinations for Degrees and Diplomas, invigilators will normally be members of staff of the University. Where appropriate, Heads of School may opt to appoint other suitably qualified and trained individuals to act as Invigilators of University examinations.

Who will mark my examinations?

Marking should not be affected by the strike action.  As normal, Heads of School will ensure that assessments are marked by appropriate academic staff.  In addition, the External Examiner system will be used, as normal, to confirm that internal marking is of an appropriate standard.

Will the return of December exam results be delayed?

There should be no delay to the return of exam results as a result of the strike action. 

Course Work

Will submission deadlines for in-course assessments be changed due to the Strike?

No.  You should ensure that you meet the stated deadlines for submission of your in-course assessments.  The penalties for late submission will not be relaxed. 

PhD Students

I am a PhD student. How will the strike affect me?

The University will be open as normal during the strike.  It is therefore unlikely that the action will have any impact on your studies.  In the unlikely event that there is a problem with assessment of your dissertation or your via, your Head of School will put in place alternative arrangements.

Further Questions

Who do I contact if I have any further queries?

If you have queries about a specific course, you should contact the relevant School Office in the first instance.  General queries should be directed to academicservices@abdn.ac.uk.