The University and College Union has announced that strike action will take place at 61 universities, including Durham, after talks last week between UCU and the employers' representative Universities UK (UUK) ended without agreement.
Durham SU President Megan Croll, stated Durham SU’s position on the action. ‘It is vitally important that our academic staff are represented, and able to get their voices heard on issues that are impacting them, and ultimately students too. I have the upmost respect for the position of UCU in this regard and understand that this is a highly emotive issue for both the staff and students affected. In particular, I respect the right of academic staff to strike. Our priority when speaking to both UCU and the University on any future strike action is to ensure that the negative impacts for students are as limited as possible.
‘ With a responsibility to represent students interests first and foremost, this is a complex issue for student officers. I could not support strike action where the goals were to cause as much disruption as possible to students, thus using student outrage and frustration as an amplifier to give weight to academics’ case to the University. While I understand the appeal of this tactic, it hurts students, most of whom are not a party in this dispute. I believe that strike action can be planned in ways that have only minor impact on students, and significant impact on the University internally. We believe that by directly disrupting University activity, rather than student learning, our academics will be able to more effectively have their voices heard.
‘Having spoken with UCU representative, I am confident that the needs of students are a consideration for strike organisers, and we will continue to work with UCU and the University to make sure students are communicated with and listened to on any actions that may impact them. We also appreciate that some of our postgraduate research students are members of UCU and will ensure we offer them our support.'