Important message to all students: Industrial Action announced by the University & College Union (UCU)

It is with regret that I must advise you that the education of some of our students may be disrupted by industrial action over the coming months. The action by some staff will include both strikes and so called ‘action short of a strike’.

As you may have seen in the media, the University and College Union (UCU) has called a national dispute over pensions, pay and working conditions, and they have indicated that they will be targeting aspects of students’ education. This is a national dispute so a number of universities will be affected. The University of Birmingham cannot act in isolation to influence the outcomes that UCU is seeking.

Of some 6000 eligible academic and academic-related staff at this University, this disruption has been triggered by just 482 votes in favour of strike action over pay and 512 in favour of strike action over pensions. While this is a minority of staff, we can expect to be affected and this will be felt in some Schools more than others.

As of today, we do not know what form the industrial action will take and over what period. We will keep you informed as more details become available.

While we respect the rights of staff to ballot for and take industrial action, we are extremely disappointed to have to bring you this news at this particular time and in light of the recent pandemic-related disruption. Birmingham is an excellent place to work and study, and we continue to sustain high levels of investment in our staff including through increased expenditure on and contributions to both pay and pensions.

We will provide a further update about the detail and impact of any industrial action announced by UCU and whether or how this might affect some of you. We are also already making preparations to support you through any impacts from the industrial action. In the meantime, you should continue as normal with your studies.

I recognise that this is very unwelcome news, but we will keep you informed as soon as we have more information so please bear with us and do talk to your Head of School if you have any immediate questions.

Professor Kathy Armour, Pro-Vice Chancellor (Education)


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