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Q. Why are my lecturers striking?

  1. Pay: The pay for University staff hasn’t matched the rise in inflation, meaning the value has declined. UCU are arguing that since 2009, the cumulative loss to pay (compared to rises in RPI) is over 20%, therefore they are demanding that employers increase staff pay by 3% plus RPI.
  2. Workload: HE staff have some of the highest levels of burnout and stress and may often work more hours than they are paid.
  3. Casualisation: Casualisation has become an increasing problem in higher education, with staff in insecure work without good reward schemes and training.
  4. Equality: UCU are asking for a nationally-agreed action for HE institutions to close the gender pay gap and to specifically address the racialised pay gap, taking account of the ways in which intersectionality affects pay and grading. At Huddersfield, in 2018/19, women earn 79p for every £1 that men earn when comparing median hourly wages. (https://gender-pay-gap.service.gov.uk/Employer/rjOzYnja/2018)

 

Q. How do I make a complaint?

The University has put in measures to ensure that students are not adversely affected, and have also reassured us that all complaints will be dealt with promptly. You can find the University’s accelerated complaint procedure online.

You should record when you have been affected, and how it has negatively impacted your studies. This information should then be submitted using the University’s complaint form, clearly stating: “This complaint relates to the impact of major disruption on my studies”.

Complaints need to go through the official complaints procedure in order to be recognised by the Office of the Independent Adjudicator. It is important that you go through the official complaints process after you have been impacted by strike action.

If you want any advice on completing your complaint, or if you are worried about the impact of these strikes should get in touch with the Students’ Union Advice Centre, for free and confidential advice and support: you can do this by emailing advice-centre@hud.ac.uk or calling 01484 473446.

 

Q. Will the strikes affect my attendance?

We have had written confirmation from Registry that attendance should not be impacted by the strikes. If you feel your attendance is still being impacted, please contact your school admin office.

 

Q. What has the Students’ Union done in response to the strikes?

As a Students’ Union, we understand and support our lecturer’s requests for fair pay and good quality of working life. The experience and satisfaction of staff has a direct impact on our students, and we appreciate you might find it frustrating that your teaching is impacted.

As an Officer Team, we’ve already been in touch with the University senior management team around the support they are putting in place over the next few weeks, particularly for those who may be studying part-time or are about to undertake assessments or other key deadlines. We've also signed a joint letter along with 25 other SU's, asking those involved in the negotiations at a national level to help resolve the disputes between employers and the trade unions.

In addition to this, we have contacted Academic Reps to understand the scale of the strikes and make sure all affected students are aware of the support available and how to follow the complaints process.

We are sympathetic to the use of salary money in supporting students, whether in resolving any legitimate cases which can’t be dealt with under the Expedited Procedure for Student Complaints in the Event of Major Disruption or through a route such as the hardship fund.

 

Q. How do I support the strikes?

You can support your lecturers by visiting them on the picket line, using social media and engaging with our Big Ideas Platform. Tweet Huddersfield UCU at @huducu and use the national tag #UCUStrikes. If you would like to write to your Vice-Chancellor, UCU has created a letter template here https://www.ucu.org.uk/studentvoice