The Warden, Pat Loughrey, sent an email to students yesterday (7th March) updating students on the ongoing UCU strike. We believe that Pat has downplayed the strike action and how far-reaching and impactful it has been.
In his email, Pat has attempted to undermine how effective the strike has been, stating that only 127 staff have declared that they are on strike. Staff legally do not have to declare that they are striking whilst industrial action is taking place, and therefore the vast majority of those taking part will not have officially declared. You only need to look at the picket in front of RHB each day to see just how many members of staff and students have been working together to fight for the future of education.
The range of teach outs organised by striking staff and students alike have been extremely well attended, and the atmosphere amongst strikers has been positive throughout. The creative protests and range of speakers that have come to the College have provided a varied and interesting alternative education on strike days.
We do not want students to feel upset or intimidated if they are choosing to cross pickets during the strike. However, Pat’s suggestion of criminality is merely intended to try and divide the student body, which has been resolute in its support for UCU. Striking lecturers have a right to picket, and UCU has been supervising to ensure that they have remained civil.
Whilst students are allowed to cross picket lines, and we know that some will choose to, we are disappointed that some departments have been trying to force their students into such a difficult position. We will continue to pressure departments not to force students into an uncomfortable situation and hope that the College will maintain their commitment to ensuring that no assessments are impacted by the strike.
It is essential that staff and students remain united for the remainder of this strike. There was an expectation that the strike would have ended by now, but we are glad to have seen our lecturers effectively stand up for their futures and the future of higher education.
An update on fee reimbursement:
We have been told by the College that requests for fee reimbursements need to be submitted through the complaints procedure on an individual basis, as the impact on an individual will be assessed to ascertain if a refund is due. If you are affected by the strike, find information on the complaints procedure here. We recommend waiting until the strike is over to submit your complaint, as the College has said they need to understand the full impact of the strike once it is over, and can't deal with fee refunds until this time.
Our advice team has a guide to the complaints process, and you can book an appointment (in person or telephone) with them if you need more guidance.