UCU announcement of industrial action at Oxford Brookes - a statement from the Vice-Chancellor

UCU announcement of industrial action at Oxford Brookes - a statement from Professor Alistair Fitt, Vice-Chancellor

Oxford Brookes has recently been informed of planned industrial action by some Oxford Brookes staff.

This follows a recent ballot by the University and College Union (UCU) which represents many academics, lecturers and other staff at universities across the UK.

As has been widely reported in the media, UCU has been locked in a dispute with universities and their representative bodies over pay, pensions and working conditions for university staff. In November, staff at 58 universities across the UK voted to strike and undertook three days of strike action in December. At Oxford Brookes, a ballot of members did not reach the required 50% threshold of members in order to proceed.

UCU recently re-balloted its members who are employed at Oxford Brookes. Yesterday, the University was informed that a majority of UCU members voted in favour of strike action and for ‘action short of a strike’ (this could include, for example, working to contract or not covering for absent colleagues). UCU have not yet announced when industrial action will take place and are required to provide details at least two weeks in advance of any action being taken. We will inform students and staff once we have been notified by them.

I am hugely disappointed to see strike action go ahead at this time, when students across the country have already experienced a large amount of disruption due to the ongoing pandemic. However, the University respects the decision of those staff who have voted to strike, and we will continue to engage with UCU to understand members’ concerns.

Alongside our discussions with UCU, our priority will be to do everything we can to minimise disruption to our students’ ongoing teaching, learning and assessment. The impact of strike action is likely to vary for different students, depending on Union membership of staff within different programmes; some students may notice little disruption, others may experience more. We are currently investigating a range of options to minimise the impact on learning and will update all students and staff as soon as we have more information.