As you may be aware following a recent re-ballot of its members, the University and College Union (UCU) has been taking ongoing action short of strike (ASOS) since 20 April. This means that individual UCU members may decide to take any of the following types of action:
- Work to contract
- Not undertake any voluntary activities
- Not cover for absent colleagues
- Remove uploaded materials related to, and/or not share materials related to, lectures or classes that will be or have been cancelled as a result of strike action
- Not reschedule lectures or classes cancelled due to strike action
- Undertake a marking and assessment boycott.
We know that you might be concerned about the impact of staff at BU taking action short of strike, but we wish to reassure you that for many of you there will be no impact. For example, BU has over 1,700 members of staff at the university, across both academic and professional support colleagues. The current industrial action, which is part of a national dispute, is being undertaken by members of UCU, which is one of two trade unions represented at BU. We understand that around 36% of our academic staff are members of UCU. We know from previous experience that not all UCU members will choose to take part in industrial action. So, while we recognise that some students will be impacted by the action short of strike and understand the concern this may cause, you may find that your learning and student experience are not affected.
We will monitor the scale of the action but we anticipate that most activities will continue as planned. There are a number of measures we can take to manage the impact of this type of action. We will give you as much notice as we are able if any activity is not able to take place. However, staff taking part in the action short of strike do not have to tell us in advance of doing so. Therefore, we may not be able to let you know beforehand. Please do attend lectures, assessments and exams as you normally would. If the marking and assessment boycott will impact the delivery of your exam or assessment results or other elements of your learning, we will contact you directly. If we do not contact you with this information, your results will not be affected by the marking and assessment boycott, and you can expect your results in line with the published timescales.
This is a national dispute and negotiations to resolve it are taking place at a national level between the Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) and UCU. We remain hopeful that the dispute can be resolved without the need for further industrial action, but are working in the meantime to minimise the potential impact on students and staff.
We understand that this may be a difficult time for you and have provided some more details in our frequently asked questions. We will continue to keep you updated over the coming weeks.
If you have specific concerns relating to your studies or research, please contact your Programme Support Team or your supervisor. There is also a range of support and resources on our website. You can also get in touch with AskBU.
Your learning and wider experience remains at the centre of all we do at BU, and we will work to ensure you have continued success in your studies, and into your future learning or work.