Planned strike action scheduled to take place in the two weeks following the Easter break will not go ahead. In an e-mail circulated to all students, Vice Chancellor Professor Chris Day announced that teaching will take place as normal from April 16th, referring to the decision by the Newcastle branch of UCU not to activate the planned industrial action. This means that teaching and learning activities normally timetabled will not be affected by any industrial action between 16th and 30th April.[pullquote]The Vice Chancellor also expressed sympathy and support for students who have been affected both academically and mentally by the continued interruption[/pullquote]
UCU has put forward a proposal to end the current dispute between lecturers and universities, and is currently consulting its members. An e-ballot has formed part of this consultation, which was sent to members to vote on the terms proposed to resolve the dispute surrounding the USS pension scheme. The Vice Chancellor wrote that, “this consultation is expected to close on April 13th, following which I will be able to write to you again to confirm whether the proposal has been accepted, ending the industrial action.”
If UCU members reject the proposals, industrial action may be scheduled to affect exams and assessments at the end of the term. UCU criticised the proposals as leaving academics with “massively inferior pensions” and that strike action will continue if members are not satisfied with the new scheme.
Professor Chris Day wrote that the University has supported the proposal on the basis that the workings, considerations and conclusions of the panel of experts reviewing the new pension scheme proposal should be fully transparent. The Vice Chancellor also expressed sympathy and support for students who have been affected both academically and mentally by the continued interruption.