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The University and College Union at The University of St Andrews

Status of Failure to Agree

Further to declaring a failure to agree with the employer of large-scale return to in-person working, including teaching, negotiators from the branch and UCU Scotland met with representatives of management on 6 October. That meeting did not resolve the concerns members have raised with us. The branch therefore remains in dispute with the employer. Whilst seeking to resolve issues through negotiation the branch also offers support to members who have individual and collective concerns about the large-scale return to in-person working.

We remain grateful for the help of our local MSPs; Mark Russell (Green), Wendy Chamberlain (LibDem) and Willie Russell (LibDem) for their support and discussions with the PO on our behalf.

-Members are reminded of the template letters (login required) that can be used to inform managers of concerns.

-Members in individual Schools/Units are encouraged to meet and discuss ways in which they can raise their concerns. Committee members will try to be available to attend any meetings called.

-Write to your MSPs about your concerns, and note that the minister for HE has noted the importance of dialogue with trade unions when planning safe return to work. A brief template for use is below.

I am an employee at the University of St Andrews with concerns about the university’s approach to in-person working, including teaching. UCU my trade union is attempting to resolve these concerns with the senior management of university, but the senior management are not acknowledging concerns or entering into negotiation. I ask you to contact the university to encourage them to engage seriously with UCU to resolve these issues, following recent ministerial guidance for the sector which states that: ‘institutions should be working with their staff and students to discuss any concerns they have about the use of face to face teaching and enabling more online where that can done […]. The sectoral guidance states that institutions should continue to make reasonable efforts to facilitate working and studying remotely. […] I expect institutions to fully engage with staff and students, through trade union and student association representatives, and to monitor and respond to feedback and concerns about operational arrangements. I am grateful to staff who are working extremely hard to support students in these exceptional times, and we expect institutions to follow fair work practices.’

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