News Article

Response to UCU Industrial Action

Representing Your Academic Interests

The University and College Union (UCU), a trade union which represents staff in Further and Higher Education, some of which are Aston staff, has announced that it will be taking industrial action. This action is a response over the future of their pension scheme (Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS)) after negotiations between UCU and Universities UK (UUK), who represent Universities, ended without an agreement.

This industrial action may see staff, who are members of UCU, striking for up to 14 days (staggered over four weeks), with the first day set for the 22nd February.

Aston Students’ Union, as a student-led organisation, consulted with our members to determine the Union’s response to this action, which is presented below;

Aston Students’ Union recognises the right of UCU members to take industrial action. We understand the importance of pensions in providing staff financial stability in retirement. These individuals have spent their working lives enhancing the experience for Aston students.

The primary consideration of Aston Students’ Union is  the academic interests of our members (the students). We are concerned about the potentially negative impact the planned industrial action may have on the academic experience and progression of those we represent.

Aston Students’ Union  will be taking the following actions:

  • We urge both UCU and UUK to restart negotiations, thus avoiding this industrial action which will impact on our members and students around the country.
  • Lobby the University and Professor Alec Cameron to openly support and work within their power to urge UCU and UUK to restart negotiations.
  • To work with and encourage the University, and UCU, to ensure the negative impact on students is mitigated in some way.
  • Encourage all parties involved to maintain lines of communication and in particular ensure students are kept informed.

We understand that this industrial action will impact some students more than others. This impact is more than just cancelled teaching; it is also the additional stress this can impose, in particular for final year students. Therefore we will also act to:

  • Lobby the University to continue to be transparent and open when communicating to students.
  • Urge the University to put in place a clear plan/mitigations for final year students.

Our first consideration is our current members. We recognise the impact working benefits, such as pensions, have on the recruitment and retention of staff. It is these staff we rely on to deliver excellent teaching to our members that forms the backbone of the student experience and Aston’s excellent reputation. Therefore we will stand in solidarity with UCU members and allow them to use Students’ Union facilities during their industrial action.

All action taken by the Students’ Union will comply with relevant charity law.


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