A statement from the Council expressing support for the UCU Strikes, November 2022.
This week, University of Glasgow staff members who are part of the University and College Union (UCU) will be going on strike. The strike action will take place over 3 days: 24th, 25th and 30th November.
The strikes follow a historic ballot which saw more than eight in ten of those who voted saying ‘yes’ to strike action. Staff were balloted across two separate issues: pay & working conditions and cuts to pensions.
On November 16th we met as your representative council and the majority of our elected members voted to support the upcoming strike action. We believe it is important for students to understand the reasoning for the strike action and we encourage students to engage with the context and discussion around this.
The decision to support strikes is not one we made lightly. Our reasons for doing so stem from an understanding that staff working conditions directly inform a student's learning environment, and thus their conditions have a direct impact on the student experience.
Last week we launched our Cap Student Numbers Now campaign. Just as we have argued that rising student numbers at the University have had a detrimental impact on the quality of learning and teaching and the student experience, so too do we believe that falling standards in staff working conditions ultimately have a negative impact on students.
University staff are overworked and underpaid which leads to low morale. If staff don’t have time to mark your work, this leads to a delay in grades being returned, low quality feedback, and reduced contact hours. As students who are here to receive a high quality education, it’s our responsibility to support striking staff in achieving their aims so as to improve conditions for staff and for students. When staff win, students win.
This strike has not been called to disadvantage students, it has been called to send a message to the University management that enough is enough, and things have to change. We expect the University to work to meet the demands of the UCU and in the meantime make allowances and offer additional support for students who may face disruption.
During the strike period, you may find that movement around campus becomes congested particularly around the main building due to the industrial action. Not all classes will be affected, as some staff are not part of the UCU and some may choose to not strike. Access to the Library, JMS and other study spaces will not be affected. We encourage students to engage with the discussion, particularly should you have any questions which may be directed toward UCU Glasgow or staff at the picket lines.
Finally, we want to reiterate our understanding that any disruption to learning is far from ideal, and not all students will stand in support. Our intention is not to overlook or dismiss the disadvantage this may cause some students, but to reiterate our standpoint that the University should do everything in its power to mitigate the need to strike at present and at any point in the future.
If you would like to submit a complaint to the University with regards to the strike action taking place, the SRC Advice Centre have some advice on the University's Complaints procedure here: https://www.glasgowunisrc.org/advice/academic/complaints/ or you may reach out to the SRC Advice Centre for assistance with submitting your complaint.
Glasgow University Students' Representative Council 22/23
Most picketing will take place at the Main Gate on University Avenue. All students are encouraged to attend and take part.
Our sabbatical officers will be attending the picket at the following dates/times:
Thursday 24th November: 11am-12pm (speaking at the rally at 11.30am), 12pm-1pm, 1.30pm-2pm.
Thursday’s picket will also be a child-friendly picket so we will have the Williams Room in the McIntyre Building booked out from 9am-1.30pm as a child-friendly space for picketers to use.
There will be a ‘teach out’ hosted in the QMU on Thursday at 1pm, room TBC. There will also be a Graduate Teaching Assistant meeting in the QMU from 12pm-1pm to discuss issues specific to this group, to be taken into the next stages of UCU’s negotiations with the University, which will be of interest to many PGR students.