University of Glasgow and UCU Glasgow issue joint statement in lead-up to strikes

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Inanna Tribukait
Environmental Correspondent

The dispute is over pensions, pay, casualisation, equality and workloads.

The University of Glasgow and the University and College Union (UCU) Glasgow have issued a joint statement in the lead-up to the strikes that will take off nationwide on Monday.

While the strike will still be going ahead, both parties have made commitments to reduce the disruption to both students and striking staff.

The UCU Glasgow agreed not to discourage students from crossing picket lines or attending classes during the strike action. The Union will also encourage striking members of staff to inform their students in advance if they are taking action. This is to avoid students having to pay money to travel into University if it would not otherwise be necessary.

On the other side of the argument, the University of Glasgow has agreed to spread pay deductions for those who participate in more than one day of the strike action over two months. Furthermore, the University will continue to pay employer pension contributions for members of the pension scheme. It will, however, also deduct employee contributions as normal, irrespective of any reduction in salary.

Moreover, the University will not deduct pay from employees for action short of striking, which means that staff refraining from doing any work that goes beyond their contractual obligations will not be suffering.

According to their statement, both the University and the UCU are committed to “retaining a defined benefit element of the pension scheme that is affordable”. In addition, they are both welcoming further talks at a national level to resolve the dispute. These are set to begin on Tuesday 26 November.

In their statement, both parties agreed that progress has been made locally on other areas previously under dispute, such as a significant reduction in zero-hour working arrangements. According to the statement, the gender pay gap at the University of Glasgow which, according to a UCU spokesperson, is currently at 16.2%, has been reduced by some 10% over the past decade, and new caring and flexible working related policies have been introduced in response to the 2018 staff survey.

The strikes are set to begin on Monday and will last over eight working days until 4 December, unless agreement can be reached prior to that. If the strikes go ahead as planned, over a million students could be affected, as UCU will be taking action over pensions, pay, casualisation, equality and workloads.