Update on industrial dispute

Update on industrial dispute

Update from Professor Ruth Taylor, Vice-Principal Education

I’m delighted to welcome you back for the new academic year, and especially to our new students – I hope you had a great summer and are settling in well to life in Aberdeen, as well as taking advantage of all that university life has to offer.

I’m writing to provide an update on the industrial dispute involving the Universities and Colleges Union (UCU).

Marking and assessment boycott

The marking and assessment boycott connected to the dispute has ended, meaning no more disruption or delay in students receiving grades and/or feedback for their work. For those students who are still awaiting marks for work submitted last term, you will hear from your Head of School on when you can expect your results.

Notification of Strike Action – September

We have received notification from UCU, calling on members nationally to take strike action, relating to the pay dispute, on the following dates – 25, 26, 27, 28 and 29 September 2023.

In addition, we have received notification from UCU of local strike action on the following dates - 18, 19, 20, 21, 25, 26, 27 and 28 September 2023. This relates to the ongoing national dispute on pay and, specifically, a matter arising from it (the pay withholding that the University applied to those participating in marking and assessment boycott) with other universities, who followed the same or a different approach, also receiving notification of local strike action.

We anticipate only a small number of students will be affected and the University will remain open for business as normal during strike action. You should attend your classes as normal unless you hear otherwise.

Only some academic staff are UCU members and not all members of UCU may participate in all (or indeed any) strike days, meaning the extent of action will vary across the University. Staff do not have to tell the University if they plan to take strike action, but your School will keep you updated as far as possible. You should contact your School Office if you have any concerns.

If you have any questions then our strike action FAQs can be found here – if you can’t find the answer you’re looking for, then please contact academicservices@abdn.ac.uk.

While further strike action is disappointing, UCU nationally has signalled a willingness to resume negotiations and to start the process of an independently facilitated review of the sector’s finances. This is an important development that has the potential to create a shared understanding of the parameters of affordability of future pay awards, and thereby pave the way towards better industrial relations in our sector. The University welcomes negotiations nationally on these issues. We will also continue to work together with Aberdeen UCU locally on a range of issues.

I want to provide you with reassurance that planning is underway to minimise any disruption to your teaching and learning because of this dispute, so that we can continue to offer an outstanding student experience.

The University recently achieved its highest ever result in the Guardian University Guide, coming in 12th in the UK, as well as being ranked 10th in the UK in this year’s National Student Survey (NSS) – testament to the hard work of our staff in delivering for our students.

Finally I hope you are looking forward to the new academic year and are ready to take advantage of all the opportunities life at the University of Aberdeen has to offer. Please keep an eye on your Student Update, emails and MyAberdeen alerts for important updates designed to support you and help you get the most from your time with us.

My best wishes to you all for the academic year ahead.


Professor Ruth Taylor
Vice-Principal Education

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