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Open letter from the Vice-Chancellor to students - 5/12/19

Dear student,

You will be aware that the recent strike action over pay, working conditions and pensions has now come to an end. Some of you will have noticed little, if any disruption.

Most teaching across the University has gone ahead and you’ve continued to be able to access library and support services as normal.

However, I recognise that some students have seen significant disruption to teaching activities. For those whose learning experience has been impacted, I apologise.

As staff taking part in strike action do not have to notify the University in advance, it is very difficult for us to warn you of what the likely impact might be, though I know that Schools have made every effort to let you know if teaching was not going ahead.

Now that this phase of strike action is over, Schools have been asked to provide all students with an update before the Christmas break.

This will give you information on any adjustments that may be made to assessments, as well as any other steps Schools are taking to support your learning. You should continue to work to assessment deadlines, unless you are advised otherwise by your School.

We want you to have as much advice as possible in good time and to have an opportunity to raise any queries you have before the Christmas break.

You will know from previous e-mails that we have developed a series of Q&As on the intranet designed to answer some of your key questions. These are being updated as new questions arise, and I would encourage you all to consult them. There will also be an opportunity in the New Year to attend an open meeting to discuss strike-related issues and concerns. More details will follow.

I do understand and appreciate how frustrating these past eight days have been for some of you. Equally, I know from the e-mails and conversations I’ve had with students and your Students’ Union representatives that many of you support the strike action. I fully respect your right to do so.

However, the key disputes around pay and pensions are national issues that we cannot solve alone and over which I have little control. What I can do is influence, when and where I can. I can assure you that I am and will always be a strong advocate for staff and students and the University as a whole.

As I have said, I want all parties to continue to try and resolve these issues and avoid further disruptive strike action.

While no more strike dates have yet been confirmed, that’s not to say that there will not be more strike action in the New Year. When any new dates are announced, we will keep you updated.

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you season’s greetings. I hope you manage to have some time to relax and reflect before the start of the next academic semester in January.

Yours sincerely

Colin Riordan