University asked staff to return to campus on first day of national lockdown

Elsa Tarring reports on the latest from the University branch of UCU

Elsa Tarring
6th November 2020
Image: NUSU Your Voice
The Newcastle University branch of the University and College Union (UCU) has announced that Professional Services (PS) staff were asked to return to campus on the first day of the second national lockdown.

Taking to Twitter yesterday, the UCU branch wrote “Anyone else’s PS staff being asked to return to campus on the first day of a national lockdown?”

Amid the branch's complaints is the rising number of university staff that have contracted coronavirus. This week, the University reported that 10 members of staff have tested positive for the virus, double the number of cases from the week before. 

The UCU branch wrote that staff were asked to return in-person to comply with the University’s aim of “reinvigorating the vibrancy and sense of community” on campus.

The University did not confirm directly whether or not the UCU’s claim is true when approached by The Courier. Instead, a spokesperson said “The safety of our colleagues and students remains our number one priority.”

They continued “We have two metres physical distancing across our campus, we are operating at 25% capacity with rota systems in place across our teams and other safety measures such as face coverings, hand sanitiser stations and one way systems are in place.”

“We need everybody’s help to provide these essential services which are critical to be able to deliver an excellent educational experience.”

The news comes a week after the UCU passed a motion to ballot for industrial action following their failure to reach an agreement with the University, in part about present in-person (PiP) teaching.    

Featured Image: NUSU Your Voice                 

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