An important update from the University of Birmingham
You may have heard that the Universities and Colleges Union (UCU), which represents some of the staff at the University, has announced its intention to hold a national period of industrial action. This includes proposed national strike days on Monday 25, Tuesday 26, Wednesday 27, Thursday 28, and Friday 29 September 2023.
We are disappointed that this further period of industrial action is taking place at the start of the new teaching year, and we recognise that you may be concerned about how it may affect you. You should be aware that not all staff belong to UCU and that most students will be unaffected. We would like to assure you that we are doing everything we can to minimise the impact of any strike action on you and your studies.
The University will, remain open and operating otherwise normally, including the Main Library, all study spaces and other support services across the campus.
The most obvious and immediate impact for some of you, on some courses, will potentially be the cancelling of timetabled sessions on the strike dates, and an alternative schedule of academic welcome and transition events will be in place. We will make every reasonable effort to contact you in advance about any changes or cancellations and, where possible, this will be communicated to you via your School/Department. As academic staff who strike do not have to inform us in advance that they are striking, we will not always be able to inform you that this is going to happen. We nevertheless expect that the vast majority of timetabled sessions will continue as normal, and that many students will see no disruption to their studies.
If you are affected by strike action you will be supported with alternative activities and online materials. Your School/Department will make every effort to make alternative arrangements for any cancelled events, including lectures, seminars, individual appointments, lab sessions etc, and will be putting mitigations in place to cover any lost learning sessions. During the industrial action of the previous academic year, we were able to mitigate for any disrupted sessions and all of our students were able to graduate in the summer with their full marks and degree classifications.
Please check Canvas and your University emails frequently for further updates.
The action that UCU are taking is part of a national dispute affecting more than 130 universities and as such we cannot act independently to bring about a resolution.
In addition, on Thursday 21 and Friday 22 September the Birmingham Branch of Unison have notified us of strike action by its members. Again, we do not expect there will be any significant disruption to services for students on these days.
On each strike day students can expect that there will be “picket lines” at entrances to campus and you may pass members of staff at the entrances who are carrying signs, handing out leaflets and talking to people about the reasons for the strike. We respect the rights of union members to take legitimate strike action, alongside those staff members who do not want to take strike action. The pending strike action is lawful, and we would expect all staff and students to treat everyone with respect.
We are aware that for some of you this may be to the expected start to the new academic year, but please do not worry. For more information, we have answered some of your Frequently Asked Questions.
Thank you for your understanding and patience.
Update 14 September: Additional days of strike action have been announced for Wednesday 27, Thursday 28 and Friday 29 September by the Birmingham Branch of Unison.