Law School Update: Industrial Action
As you probably know, members of UCU (the union for academics and many members of professional services) will be striking for 14 working days from 20 February to 13 March. That is, for part of weeks 7, 8 and 9, and all of week 10.
Trade union members have the right to take industrial action (including the planned strikes) if members are properly balloted and if there are sufficient votes in favour. In this case there were proper ballots and very substantial majorities in favour of taking this action at Warwick and at many other Universities. This action will be taking place at around 70 universities across the UK.
I do not know how many members of the Law School will be striking, and union members have no obligation to let me or you, the students, know. But I anticipate that many will strike, and that many lectures and seminars will be cancelled as a result. These classes will not be done by anyone else.
I am very sorry about this. And I know that UCU members greatly regret it as well. The action is not directed at you, or at Warwick University itself, but at the University pension scheme and the universities employers association. When negotiations fail, industrial action is often the only method union members have to pressure employers to negotiate further. Indeed it is possible that as a result of the imminent industrial action, negotiations will intensify over the next week or so and that UCU will therefore cancel or postpone the strike action.
However, we have to plan on the basis that the strikes will go ahead. We will do all we reasonably can to minimize the effect of this dispute on you. The university has mechanisms in place to take into account any effect that this might have on your academic performance – though I do not think that your work will be seriously affected. Please be assured that I, the University as a whole, and all my colleagues in the Law School, have your best interests at heart. Most importantly, I can assure you that work that is missed through cancellation of lectures will not be examined.
I will, of course, keep you informed about any changes or additions to the industrial action plans.
In the meantime, if there is anything you’d like to ask or know about, feel free to contact me at email@example.com.
7 February 2020