You may have seen reports of planned industrial action by the University and College Union (UCU) and the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS). This action is being taken in relation to pay and the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) pension – this is a national dispute involving 74 UK universities.
I am writing to assure you that whilst talks are ongoing at a national level and we do hope this industrial action can be averted, we are putting in place measures to ensure that you will not be disadvantaged in the event that the industrial action does go ahead.
As it stands, the UCU have announced plans to strike on 14 individual days:
- Thursday 20 and Friday 21 February
- Monday 24, Tuesday 25 and Wednesday 26 February
- Monday 2, Tuesday 3, Wednesday 4 and Thursday 5 March
- Monday 9, Tuesday 10, Wednesday 11, Thursday 12 and Friday 13 March
EIS will be taking strike action on the following 5 days:
- Thursday 20 February, Tuesday 25 February
- Monday 2 March, Thursday 12 and Friday 13 March
Even if industrial action does take place on these days, teaching will continue 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 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.
Progress has been made on a number of matters known to be important to HE institutions and the unions, including casual employment; workload/mental health, and gender/ethnicity pay gaps, indeed we as a University have already made firm commitments in many of these areas.
You can find some answers to Frequently Asked Questions here, but if you have any other more general queries not addressed by the FAQs, you should refer these to email@example.com.
Professor Ruth Taylor
- How long will the Strike last?
The strike action is taking place sporadically over a four-week period and will encompass 14 days in total.
- Week one - Thursday 20 and Friday 21 February
- Week two - Monday 24, Tuesday 25 and Wednesday 26 February
- Week three – Monday 2, Tuesday 3, Wednesday 4 and Thursday 5 March
- Week four - Monday 9, Tuesday10, Wednesday 11, Thursday 2 and Friday 13 March
- 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 to seek the advice/guidance you require. Non-academic support is also available through the Student Advice & Support Office.
- 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 where there has been no prior notification that the class has been cancelled. Please note any material covered could form part of future assessments.
- 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.
- What will happen if my lecture is cancelled as a result of the strike?
Any aspect of teaching missed as a consequence of the industrial action will not form part of any assessment associated with the course.
- What will happen if my tutorial or laboratory class is cancelled as a result of the strike?
Unless covered in other areas of the course, the material covered at these sessions will not form part of any assessment for this course.
- Will submission deadlines for in-course assessments be changed due to the industrial action?
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.
- What impact will missed teaching have on the assessments for my course?
Any material missed as a consequence of the strike action will not form part of any assessment for the course.
- If I don’t receive feedback on my in-course assessments this may impact on my ability to prepare fully for my written examinations. How will this affect my marks?
Heads of School will know which courses have been affected and will ensure that the examiners are made aware of this situation in determining the overall CGS grade for the courses concerned.
- Will I be able to appeal if I have not had feedback on course work before taking my examinations?
If the learning outcomes that are assessed by the written examinations are different to those assessed by course work, then there would be no grounds of appeal. If, however, the examinations relate directly to the course work, for which no feedback had been provided, then this will be expressly brought to the attention of the examiners, including the External Examiner, who will be asked to take this into account in determining students’ overall CGS grade for such courses. Provided this was taken into account, there would be no grounds of appeal.
- I am an online learner, what will the industrial action mean for me?
If the industrial action has any impact on your course (e.g. provision of course materials, access to tutor support or return of assessed work) your School will notify you. You will not be disadvantaged as a result of any teaching content which is not delivered as a result of the strike action. Any material missed will not form part of any assessment for the course.
- I am a student studying at the Qatar campus. What will the industrial action mean for me?
The industrial action will not involve any teaching staff based at the Qatar campus. If the industrial action impacts any visiting teaching staff or the delivery of course materials or assessment provided by Aberdeen-based staff, staff at AFG College will inform you. You will not be disadvantaged as a result of any teaching content which is not delivered as a result of the strike action. Any materials missed will not form part of any assessment for the course.
- 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 viva, your Head of School will put in place alternative arrangements.
- Will strike action impact my Student Visa if I cannot attend a class or planned teaching event?
No. If you are unable to attend a class due to the strike action this will not impact your visa. You can contact our Student Visa team for any other questions you may have.
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.