Earlier this term, the Guild issued a statement outlining the Officer Team’s position on the current UCU strike action taking place at the University of Birmingham. This statement was in line with our current Belief and Commitment, passed democratically by students last academic year, which outlines how we can respond to this dispute.
Over the course of the dispute, we have continued to represent students’ academic interests through on-going dialogue with the University. We are working to ensure that content missed due to strike action is not used during assessment and that extensions are in place where action has impacted learning. We have also raised student concerns directly with the senior management of the University.
In addition to this Belief and Commitment, the Guild of Students has attempted to provide practical support to students and UCU reps during the course of the dispute, including:
- Opening up all Guild rooms outside of student group bookings, to allow students to independently study without crossing the picket line.
- Providing a room and refreshments for those striking to be able to rest away from the picket line. This room is available on each day of the strike.
- Shared impartial information on the strike action and its impacts, to allow students to make informed choices about the dispute.
- Ensured open communication between Union reps and the Guild, both before and throughout industrial action (including arranging a meeting with NUS President Zamzam Ibrahim).
- Raised the concerns of striking staff and supporting students at the highest levels of the University, including directly challenging the senior management on intimidating behaviour reported to us.
The Officer Team has looked to gain a broad overview of how best to represent students on these issues, both in conversations with students and through posts on social media. We found that – on both sides – there were very strong views. Many students pledged full solidarity with UCU whilst others were frustrated or worried about the academic impact.
We want to make sure that our stance reflects your opinions – and we can only act if you speak up on the issues that matter to you. If you want to let us know how you feel about this issue or you think our stance should be different, then come along to Officer Question Time on Monday 2nd December or take the time to vote on Your Ideas before 4pm this Friday.