Industrial Action: Message from PVC Learning and Teaching, 12 March

Dear final-year students

I am writing to you because I know that some of you are experiencing considerable uncertainty over the impact of the UCU strike as you approach the final weeks of your degree. I have responded to many emails from students and wanted to give you as final-year students more information relevant to your circumstances.

At present the UCU and Universities UK are in negotiation (which is a good step) to find a way forward in the current dispute over future pension provision. While we are optimistic that they will find a compromise, and hope it will be soon, there is still no certainty at this stage. To be honest, I find it personally frustrating that they have been unable to make greater progress so far, but this is a national issue which can only be resolved at a national level.

You may have seen that the University and the Students’ Union yesterday issued a joint statement saying:

The University of Bath and its Students’ Union urge UUK and UCU to use their current negotiations to find a fair solution to their dispute and a swift end to the ongoing industrial action. We are making this call – alongside many other universities – in the best interests of our students and staff.”

We continue to work with the Students’ Union to find ways to find ways to support students affected by the strike. If there is anything practical or specific that you think we can do, please contact your academic reps and ask them to feed your points up to the SU Education Officer.

We have asked staff to make all reasonable efforts to limit or mitigate the impact of strike action on students. Many colleagues who have taken strike action have taken care to upload materials such as papers, recorded lectures and links to online resources onto the unit Moodle page to cover the content missed. When colleagues are back in work we are asking them all to prioritise such provision for all final-year students.

At present, it is still too early to gauge the impact of the strike on specific units and how this will affect individual assignments, but we are currently looking very closely at the issue of final year assessment as an obvious area of priority.

I would also emphasise that despite UCU encouragement to use individual mitigating circumstances (IMCs), it is too soon to know whether this would be appropriate. IMCs are generally applied when something happens to a student immediately before or during an assessment, rather than to pre-empt the work that should go into preparing to take degree assessments.

Please rest assured that we are very conscious of the worry that the strike action may be causing you and are doing our best to limit the adverse effects on your learning. In the meantime, I urge you to continue with your academic work, attend all scheduled classes, and prepare for assessments as normal. If you are especially worried about a particular assessment, please write to your Director Studies or, if he or she is on strike, to the Head of Department. If you are feeling particularly anxious, please make use of the support networks we have at the University, including the Students’ Union, Student Services, and personal tutors.

I would also direct you to our webpage on industrial action which contains FAQs (constantly updated to reflect questions from students) and previous emails I have sent to students.

Finally, please remember that all teaching staff, whether on strike or not, care very much about education and about you as their students. I have no doubt that once the industrial action is over, those currently on strike will be making every effort to support you to the best of their abilities.

Best wishes

Professor Peter Lambert,
Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Learning and Teaching)

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