Oxford Student Union have voted to hold an emergency meeting next week to address concerns over the SU’s stance on strikes organised by the University and College Union
At Student Council, held in Wadham’s Moser Theatre on Wednesday evening, JCR and MCR reps voted to hold more talks to finalise the SU’s position, with 57 in favour and 11
The meeting proposed by ex-OULC Co-Chair Tom Zagoria, follows Oxford SU’s statement on the strike action, which noted it was “regrettable” that proposed action could adversely effect students’ education.
The SU was criticised for appearing to not fully support the plans for industrial action proposed by the UCU in its January 25th statement.
Catherine Canning, Oxford SU vice president for Access and Academic Affairs, said the Union encouraged students “to stand on the picket line with the academics.”
However, a first year from Wadham, Hugo Raine, said the wording of the SU’s original statement implied “placing the interests of academics against those of students.”
A graduate student at Somerville, Rowan Davis, called the Oxford SU’s response “really weak” and “a bit disappointing.”
They said: “You’ll still be able to work at home”, “read your books”, and “chill out”.
Postgraduate students who teach at the University as part of their research work are eligible for membership of both the Oxford SU and UCU.
One member of both unions, from St. Cross College, expressed concerns that the motion “starts from the middle of the story” and argued that “the onus should be put on the
employers” to negotiate on behalf of academics affected by the strike.
Responding to criticism of its statement, SU sabbatical officers directed the audience towards the FAQs section of the SU website – where “full solidarity” with the UCU strikes is now expressed.
They added their intention to reissue a version of the previous statement in the coming days, with the removal of the term “regrettable” in response to disagreement “across the board” with its use.
UCU’s planned walk-outs are a response to proposed reforms of the Universities Superannuation Scheme, as reported by Cherwell last week.
Independent estimates suggest that the changes would cause a typical lecturer to lose £200,000 in pension contributions by the time of their retirement.