Motion for the SSC to support University of St Andrews staff in taking industrial action

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NOTES

  • In January 2018 the University and College Union (from here on UCU) announced strike action due to changes to the national pension scheme by Universities UK (from here on UUK)
  • Strikes were announced to take place Thursday 22, Friday 23, Monday 26, Tuesday 27, Wednesday 28 February, Monday 5, Tuesday 6, Wednesday 7 and Thursday 8, Monday 12, Tuesday 13, Wednesday 14, Thursday 15 and Friday 16 March 2018
  • After academic salary real-term has been reduced by 15% over the past 10 years, the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) now threatens to take away pension security for university staff (see Appendix 1)
  • The Management as well as the Student Representative bodies of the University of St Andrews have, to date, not taken position on the upcoming strike action
  • The right to strike is recognized as a human right and constitutes part of a healthy democracy
  • 90% of teachers that are St Andrews UCU members voted in favour of strike action
  • Universities UK has pursued changes to the pension scheme without agreement with UCU, and without any compromise of its position
  • Changes to the pension scheme are made on a national level by the UUK board of which Principal Sally Mapstone is a member
  • The University of St Andrews Students’ Association understands its duty as followed: “to make the student experience as strong as it can be, provide services you need and to represent your views to the University and beyond”. 

BELIEVES

  • The SRC believes that the strikes deserve their attention as it will have an effect on students and the quality of their education
  • The SRC believes it is necessary to critically discuss and position itself to the strike action, as their responsibility to the University of St Andrews student body is to demonstrate resolve on the most important issues affecting students, teachers and the wider university community
  • The SRC believes that lectures and university staff who assert their right to strike should be met with understanding and support from the student body
  • The SRC is convinced that students and the university as a whole will benefit from improved conditions for staff as it enables high learning and teaching quality in the long-term
  • The SRC believes that people working in higher education deserve fair remuneration as well as fair treatment in decisions regarding their pension scheme

RESOLVES

  • The SRC understands and supports the strike action taken by any members of University of St Andrews regarding changes to the USS pension scheme and stands in solidarity with them
  • The SRC acknowledges strike action as a platform for discussion and change in teaching conditions in higher education
  • The SRC resolves to encourage the senior management team at the University of St Andrews to pressure UUK to promote a return to negotiations with UCU
  • The SRC, (together with the University), resolves to work towards minimizing effects on students’ academic experience as a result of strike action
  • Clear information about the strike and ways of supporting it will be provided to students by the SRC
  • The SRC resolves to encourage the university not to penalise the absence of students from tutorials and lectures during the period of the strike

APPENDIX

1: Baker, S., 2017. Real-terms pay for UK academics still below 2010-11 salaries, Times Higher Education. Available through: <https://www.timeshighereducation.com/news/real-terms-pay-for-uk-academics-still-below-2010-11-salaries>

Proposer: Alexandra Weiler, 170019944
Seconder: Leonie Hoher



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