Update 22 February: Following an all student vote the Students' Union's stance has been updated. You can read more here.
On Monday 29 January, UCU (the largest staff trade union at Royal Holloway) informed the College of their intention to strike for 14 days across February and March 2018. This is in response to proposed changes to the USS pension scheme and is part of a national campaign which will see walkouts at 60 other universities.
The College have informed us that Deans, supported by HR, will be coordinating the response at departmental level in order to minimise the impact the strike may have. We will be working with them to ensure that your interests are represented and to mitigate any disruption to students.
The dates of the strikes and other important information are contained in the FAQs below.
The Officer Group (the five Sabbatical Officers), as your representatives elected by campus-wide ballot, have considered the issue and released the following statement.
Royal Holloway Students' Union is sympathetic to members of the UCU and other College staff members who are facing changes to their pensions (the Universities Superannuation Scheme). We believe that the pensions of hard working staff and the future of academia as a profession should be protected. We encourage all parties, including Royal Holloway University of London and Universities UK, to engage those affected in a meaningful consultation to resolve this issue as soon as possible.
We recognise that for some of our members, particularly PGR students, changes to USS may have a direct impact on them and their futures. We are keen to understand their views on the issue and encourage these members to contact us.
As a Students' Union, representing the interests of our members, we are unable to support strike action that will see 14 days of disruption for students consolidated into such a critical time of the year. Our priority is minimising the disruption to students and we will be working with academic departments to ensure that any negative impacts of the strike are mitigated.
Whilst we cannot support the strike, we will be showing our solidarity with UCU’s cause in other ways; aiming to ensure that the student body are aware of the potential changes, how they might affect them and Royal Holloway, and how they can support the cause in lobbying for further work to be put into finding alternative solutions to protect university staff pensions.
Q: When will the strike take place?
A: Week one - Thursday 22 and Friday 23 February (two days)
Week two - Monday 26, Tuesday 27 and Wednesday 28 February (three days)
Week three - Monday 5, Tuesday 6, Wednesday 7 and Thursday 8 March (four days)
Week four - Monday 12, Tuesday 13, Wednesday 14, Thursday 15 and Friday 16 March (five days)
Q: How will it affect me?
A: At this stage, it’s impossible to know the exact impact on individuals. There will be disruption across the organisation, with likely lecture/seminar cancellations and potential delays to marking. Exactly how much disruption there will be, and which courses will be affected most, will depend on how many and which staff participate, which will not necessarily be known before the strike dates.
Update: The College have released a statement with a commitment to making every effort to minimise the impact, and their advice is to attend lectures as normal during this period (ie don't assume that your lecturer is on stike and therefore your lecture will be cancelled).
Q: What will happen if my lectures are cancelled?
A: The College is currently working on plans for the strike dates, and more will be known over the next couple of weeks, however the Students’ Union will be lobbying Deans and senior management to ensure that all cancelled lectures and seminars are rescheduled to ensure that you don’t miss out on your education.
Update: The College will post updates on the student intranet as soon as new information is available.
Q: Will I still get supervision and/or work marked?
A: Whilst there is no marking or supervision boycott, due to the volume of strike days there may be delays to marks being returned or supervisory meetings being scheduled. You are encouraged to contact your supervisors, or lecturers via your course reps, to ask for clarification.
Q: Why are staff going on strike?
A: You can read the UCU statement here.
Q: Does the NUS have a view?
A: The NUS and UCU have released a joint statement, which you can find here.
Q: What has the College said on the matter?
A: Update: The Collge have released a statement and will continue to communicate updates via the student intranet.
Q: I have a view, how can I make it heard?
A: The Students’ Union recognises that there will be a range of views on this issue, and encourages these to be shared and discussed on campus. You can also contact your Dean or head of department.
Update: You can register your opinion my using our Bright Ideas platform, or by attending our AGM where a motion to support the strike action has been proposed.
Q: What can I do if I feel my work is being affected by the strike?
A: The College will be putting measures in place to minimise the impact on students, but there is still a chance your work could be impacted. You can contact our Advice Centre and speak to our Academic Advisor who will be able to discuss your concerns and advise if any action could be taken. This may include submitting extenuating circumstances or assisting you with contacting your department, please contact us on Advice@su.rhul.ac.uk or drop into the SU helpdesk.
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