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Message from the Principal: Industrial action 25 November-4 December 2019

The Principal has written to all students to update them on planned industrial action by members of the University and College Union (UCU).


You may have heard that UCU, one of the trade unions that represent some of our staff, recently balloted their members on industrial action on the subjects of pensions and pay.  Both of these are nationally negotiated issues and therefore affect many universities.  At Queen Mary, 367 of our 4500 staff voted in favour of strike action, representing approximately 8% of our staff.

We have now been informed by the union UCU that 8 days of strike action will take place on 25 to 29 November and 2 to 4 December 2019.  In addition, ‘action short of a strike’ will start on 25 November and end no later than 29 April 2020.  (Taking strike action generally means the individual will not work for that day, or period of days.  ‘Action short of a strike’ can mean activities such as refusing to cover for absent colleagues and refusal to share teaching materials from tutorials and lectures that are cancelled owing to strike action). 

Although this is a national dispute, I deeply regret that we face local industrial action here at Queen Mary and I fully understand that you will be very concerned about the possible impact on your education.

Every member of staff at Queen Mary is passionate about providing the very best education and experience for you, and it is our responsibility to minimise any disruption that may be caused by this action. We are therefore working extremely hard with your Head of School or Institute to minimise the impact of this industrial action on your teaching, learning and overall experience.

As this is a national dispute about pay and pensions, we are also working hard with other partners across the Higher Education sector to resolve it.  Any solution must be acceptable to the whole community within the sector, and more importantly needs to be affordable and sustainable.  

My primary concern is that you continue to enjoy the very best education and experience, while you are at Queen Mary.  We will do everything possible to ensure that this is the case.  More information will be made available as soon as we have it, but in the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns, please contact the student enquiry centre or your Head of School/Institute.

Best wishes,

Professor Colin Bailey

President and Principal



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