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Industrial Action Update

14 Sep 2023

An update from Adèle Mackinlay

Despite best efforts by our University and representatives from the local branch executive of the University and College Union (UMUCU) to seek a constructive way forward across a number of issues, including Marking and Assessment (MAB) deductions, a proposal from the University has been rejected by 70% of 229 UMUCU members who voted in a branch meeting yesterday afternoon.

The University, in seeking to balance accounting for the impact of the MAB action on students and staff, with the desire to get back to normal through early completion of outstanding work and avoid further local action, had proposed that for those staff who have taken MAB action, 33% of the time participating in that action would not be subject to deduction or would be reimbursed as appropriate.

In return it had asked UMUCU to take all reasonable steps to ensure that all outstanding marking and assessments by members participating in MAB, are completed by Friday, 29 September.

In addition, the University asked for the withdrawal of the planned 9 days of strike action that is due to take place Tuesday, 19 to Friday, 22 September and Monday, 25 to Friday, 29 September. We understand that this will now unfortunately go ahead.

It is disappointing that this proposal was not accepted, particularly having had a clear focus in our discussions on the needs of students who have graduated, are progressing or indeed joining us for the first time in September 2023.

We also believe had this proposal been accepted it would have been good news for all our staff, whether they have participated in MAB or not.

We will now be preparing further communications on reporting of strike days, arrangements to mitigate further strike action and will provide an update on UCU’s plans for a further national ballot seeking a new mandate for further industrial action in the autumn.

Notwithstanding the ongoing industrial action, in October we hope to have two University/UCU Task and Finish Groups on Casualisation and Academic Workload established. We are currently finalising membership, terms of reference and meeting dates.

Adèle Mackinlay

Director of People & Organisational Development