GSA Official Statement on UCU Strike Action

22 November 2021

On behalf of our postgraduate members, the GSA has considered in detail the recently announced ballot results from the UCU. Therefore, on this occasion, we have taken the decision to take a neutral stance on UCU industrial action.

We understand the need for staff which includes a proportion of our membership (GTAs) to strike, ensuring staff’s working conditions are appropriate. We are also deeply aware of the need for students to have regular and uninterrupted access to teaching and positive learning mechanisms.

We recognise and value the work that academics and professional services staff do for students everyday, and we firmly believe that ALL staff should receive good pay and have proper working conditions. Staff working environments are students learning environments. We are grateful for the tireless efforts of staff on a day to day basis but we would like to acknowledge specifically their work in supporting students throughout the last 18 months.

As a students’ union, we believe in democratic decision-making, in trade unionism, and understand UCU’s campaign for reduced casualisation, increased pay in line with inflation, and a closing of the ethnicity pay-gap in HE.

This potential industrial action might affect many students, and our members will have strong feelings for both sides of the debate – both for fairly paid and better-treated staff and about the further disruption to their education. The past 18 months have been incredibly difficult for students, responding to the pandemic which has increased stress. We believe that Students need good quality education, with or without strikes and so we are working tirelessly with the University to raise your concerns, and enhance your University experience. We don’t believe that it is appropriate for us as a Students’ Union to sway the expression of colleagues.

Therefore, on this occasion, we will not take a pro or against position on proposed industrial action and take a neutral stance. We are open to feedback and will continue to speak with our members and the University to ensure we support students who need support throughout the industrial action and beyond.

We will work to ensure that staff that support and teach us are treated with respect and given the security they deserve. We urge the university and UCU to work together to achieve this!

If you have any feedback on this issue or wish to get in touch, please contact us here:

Viviane Yuxin Cao, President

Ekansh Kapoor, VP Academic

JiaYing Tan, VP Wellbeing & Community

23rd November 2021