YUSU announce their stance on the upcoming industrial action

02/02/2023

YUSU have announced their stance on the upcoming strike action, following ballot results which surveyed 281 students.

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Image by Isaac Myles

By Nadia Sayed

YUSU have announced that they will “not be giving out refreshments on the picket lines,” following the received ballot results which surveyed a total of 281 students on their thoughts regarding the upcoming strike action.

The strike action, announced by the University and College Union (UCU), will occur in February and March, with a total of 18 strike days planned.

The strike dates have now been announced by UCU and are as follows:

  • Wednesday 1 February
  • Thursday 9 and Friday 10 February
  • Tuesday 14, Wednesday 15, and Thursday 16 February
  • Tuesday 21, Wednesday 22 and Thursday 23 February
  • Monday 27, Tuesday 28 February, Wednesday 1 and Thursday 2 March
  • Thursday 16 and Friday 17 March
  • Monday 20, Tuesday 21 and Wednesday 22 March

According to YUSU, they surveyed members from Tuesday 17 to Tuesday 31 January, to determine their stance on the upcoming industrial action.

One of the questions asked was whether students supported “the demands made by UCU.” The results showed that over half of the students who voted were supportive of strike action, with 74.3 percent voting ‘Yes’. Less than half of the students (20.4 percent) chose ‘No’, whilst 5.4 percent abstained from voting.

Furthermore, students were asked “Do you believe strike action and action short of a strike are the best way for UCU to achieve its demands?” The responses showed that 46.3 voted ‘No’, 45.2 percent  responded ‘Yes’ and 8.5 percent abstained.

Lastly, on the question of whether Sabbatical Officers should or should not  “show solidarity with strikers?” votes were 54.6 percent ‘Yes’, 32.1 percent ‘No’ and 13.2 percent abstaining, showing that over half of the students who responded, were in favour of showing solidarity with strikers.

A total of 110 responses were also received by YUSU following the question “How can YUSU, the UCU or the University ensure you are well supported throughout the strike period?”

A variety of key themes were expressed in the answers to this question. A few included 27.7 percent of students mentioning the issue of tuition fees and compensation, 18.6 percent discussing the topic of assessment mitigation and 14.7 percent commenting on communication on lost teaching and general information regarding the industrial action.

As a result of the wide mix of results after the ballot, YUSU announced “we will show support for staff striking by reiterating our call to the Vice-Chancellor requesting bolder action locally on staff working conditions and a stronger stance on resolving the national dispute on pensions and pay.”

However YUSU made it clear they would “not be giving out refreshments on the picket lines in our roles.”

Although not all staff members at the University will take part in strike action, staff that will be striking are not obliged to inform either the University, or students, of their plans to participate.

In response to the open-ended questions, which YUSU put out to students, YUSU listed a number of things they would be doing to tackle the concerns raised.

First, YUSU will be “providing clear information and guidance on how to submit a complaint to the University or the OIA for those seeking an academic appeal or compensation.”

Secondly they will be “requesting the University provide mitigating measures for all lost teaching,” along with “requesting the University provide mitigating measures within assessments and examinations.”

Finally, YUSU will be “continuing to provide accurate and timely information about the strikes and requesting the University do the same.”