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UCU industrial action scheduled this term

Robert Van de Noort

The following message has gone out from the Vice-Chancellor, Robert Van de Noort, to all colleagues at the University.

Dear colleagues,

I am writing to let you know that the University & College Union (UCU) has given formal notice that they will be encouraging their members to participate in industrial action, including both full strike action and action short of strike (ASOS). The notified periods are:

  • Strike action: 25, 26, 27, 28, 29 November 2019 and 2, 3, 4 December 2019
  • Action short of strike: commencing from 25 November 2019 and finishing no later than 29 April 2020.

The UCU has entered into disputes with the University relating to the National Pay Bargaining process (and related issues) and the USS pension scheme. These matters affect universities across the UK, and the substantive issues on pay and pensions can only be resolved through the appropriate collective negotiations at national level.

I am deeply disappointed that we face industrial action here at Reading for the second time in recent years given that the core disputes cannot be resolved locally. It is particularly frustrating to find ourselves facing industrial action at a time when we have been engaged in productive discussions with the Reading branch of the UCU in respect of sessional teaching staff and Grade 6 Teaching Fellows, and are close to reaching agreement on new pay and conditions arrangements.

My priority now is to ensure that we minimise disruption for our students as far as we reasonably can. I hope we share a commitment to ensuring that the quality and value of their learning experience is not undermined by disputes that do not involve them.

We will contact all students by email to notify them of the action planned by the UCU and provide some reassurance about the mitigation we will put in place to minimise the impact on their studies. Further information and frequently asked questions for students will be made available on Essentials.

The Director of Human Resources, John Brady, will be providing further detailed information next week setting out the University’s practical response to the industrial action and its requirements from staff who will be participating.

I would like to end by reiterating that, as an institution, we will continue to work together to ensure Reading continues to be an enjoyable place to work and study. In previous periods of industrial action, colleagues have respectfully followed the relevant conduct guidelines and I am sure we will do so again.

If you have any immediate queries in the meantime, please contact John Brady or the HR Partner for your area.

Kind regards


Professor Robert Van de Noort



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