UUSU Statement on UCU Industrial Action

Many students will be aware that the University and College Union (UCU) has announced that its members will be taking strike action for three days towards the end of November 2022.

What is happening?

Many students will be aware that the University and College Union (UCU) has announced that its members will be taking strike action for three days towards the end of November 2022. This action is the latest of a number of strike actions arising from the dispute between UCU and both UCEA and Universities UK which has been ongoing since 2017/18.

UUSU acknowledges and respects the critical role of UCU in advocating on behalf of its members and indeed the vital role that its members play in supporting the education of our own student members in UUSU. At UUSU, we have always been and remain incredibly supportive of the asks which have been articulated by UCU relating to pay, working conditions and pensions. We?actively encourage the University to reach an agreement with UCU, in the interest of supporting the learning experience of our members. It is imperative that both UCEA and UUK come back to the table to engage with UCU to seek a resolution to this dispute.

How will UUSU support the interests of students?

  • When previous strike action was announced in November 2021, UUSU Student Council held an emergency meeting to determine UUSU’s stance on this. As per our democratic procedures any vote taken by Student Council is by a majority decision and once a policy is agreed, this initially stays active for two years.
  • Although Council was clear that UUSU supports the fights for better pay, working conditions and pensions, Council agreed that the significant impact on our members prevented UUSU from supporting strike action. This decision does not diminish UUSU’s support for the overall goals of UCU.
  • The primary duty of UUSU is to represent the interests of our members and to urge Ulster to put measures in place which can mitigate the impact strike action may have on students. UUSU will encourage a resolution that would prevent further periods of disruption through strike action. UUSU are committed to supporting UCU in these conversations by providing an insight into the detriment that strike action, and the subsequent lost learning, has caused in the past. During the strike action, UUSU will continue to advocate for the interests of students.
    • Through lobbying the University’s Senior Leadership Team and other relevant Committees, UUSU will seek to achieve improved mitigations against missed learning and better communication about classes cancelled due to strike action.
    • UUSU will seek to ensure that adequate support for student mental health and well-being is provided, particularly for students at critical points of their studies such as final year students or those with deadlines for handing in dissertations.
    • UUSU will assess if strike action creates additional financial pressures on students and address these as part of UUSU’s ongoing response to the Cost of Living Crisis
    • UUSU will represent the experiences of students impacted by strike action to political representatives through its participation in the Northern Ireland Assembly All Party Working Group on Further and Higher Education.
    • UUSU will lobby national students’ unions for greater national action in support of students affected by strike action

I’m a UUSU member but I want to support the strike action

  • We appreciate the diversity of opinion across the UUSU membership in relation to strike action and we understand that some members, particularly PhD researchers, who may also be members of UCU, may wish to participate in the strike action. This is a personal decision that we respect as an individual choice and UUSU are supportive of everyone's opinions and views on this matter.
  • More information on how individual members can support the strike action can be found here:
    UCU - SUPPORT THE STRIKES

What happens next?

  • UUSU and the wider University remain open for business throughout the period of strikes – all our spaces will be there for you to use, and you’ll still be able to access libraries and labs etc.
    • During the strike action it is possible that lectures may be cancelled at short notice so we would urge our members to make sure that:

    • Your mobile number is up to date with UU Registry so you can receive important SMS communications from the University.
    • You check your university supplied email regularly as updates from the University will be supplied through this platform.

How can I get support from UUSU?