Negotiations must ‘restart’ to avoid delays in deal – Cambridge University
Negotiations on university staff wages must “urgently” resume to avoid students facing delays in their graduation due to a grades boycott, the head of Cambridge University has said.
The dispute should be “settled as soon as possible” so that the students’ exams can be evaluated in a timely manner, according to a statement by Dr. Anthony Freeling, Acting Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, and Michael Abberton, President of the University and College Union (UCU). The Cambridge office has been pushing for this.
Members of the UCU began boycotting 145 universities across the UK on April 20 amid ongoing disputes over staff pay and working conditions.
The union has said the boycott, which has been in place for more than a month, will continue until employers come forward with an improved offer.
The incumbent Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge and the Cambridge arm of the union have called on the Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) to return to the negotiating table with UCU “to reach an amicable agreement” for the benefit of the students concerned Delays in Completion.
This group of students has already been hit particularly hard by the pandemic; Now for many there is a risk that the completion of their studies and their graduation could be delayed
UCU is urging universities to follow Cambridge’s lead as it warned that if a solution is not found, it could lead to a “national student scandal”.
However, the UCEA has previously stated that the involvement of academics in the union’s industrial action was “sporadic” and the impact was “minor”.
The joint statement from Cambridge said: “It is unfortunate that the national dispute over wages and working conditions has reached a point where a grades and appraisal boycott has been called.”
“It is very unfortunate and as things stand it will likely have a significant impact on students at Cambridge and across the country.
“This group of students has already been hit particularly hard by the pandemic; Now for many there is a risk that the completion of their studies and their graduation could be delayed.
“The boycott also means some international students may not be able to apply for post-graduate graduate visas after they graduate.
“Nobody wants students to suffer any more, and we deeply agree with the emotional strength of our student body. For many, including employees, this is a stressful and anxious time.”
If UCEA doesn’t listen to universities like Cambridge, a nationwide college degree scandal is looming. It’s time to get serious, and fast
It goes on to say: “We therefore demand that negotiations between the UCEA and UCU be resumed in order to reach an agreement.” This must be done urgently in the interests of our students, staff and members.”
The move comes after university students in the UK expressed fears that their degrees will be “devalued” and their degree will be delayed due to the grades and assessments boycott.
UCU general secretary Jo Grady called the Cambridge leader’s statement a “hugely significant moment” in the ongoing dispute.
She said: “Cambridge is right to see that the only way to find a solution so that students can progress is to get back to the negotiating table.
“If UCEA doesn’t listen to universities like Cambridge, a nationwide college scandal is looming. It’s time to get serious, and fast.
“Other universities must now follow Cambridge’s example, show they care about their students and call on UCEA to resume negotiations and end the dispute.”
https://www.standard.co.uk/news/politics/cambridge-university-university-and-college-union-b1082814.html Negotiations must ‘restart’ to avoid delays in deal – Cambridge University