Industrial Action – Advice for Schools and Research Institutes (February 2022)

This should be read in conjunction with the advice on FAQs provided for students – see: https://www.gla.ac.uk/myglasgow/students/industrialaction/. Further information and updates will also be provided on the University Industrial Action web page, at: https://www.gla.ac.uk/myglasgow/humanresources/mgrs-admin/employee/indaction/

Following a recent ballot of members, the UCU trade union has informed the University that it intends to take industrial action. Strike action is planned on the following dates:

Monday 14 to Friday 18 February 2022 inclusive

Monday 21 and Tuesday 22 February 2022

Monday 28 February to Wednesday 2 March 2022 inclusive.

The following advice relates primarily to proposed strike action in February and March this year.

Basic principles underlying the advice

  • Ensure all students are treated
  • Ensure that no student is disadvantaged by any amended
  • Ensure that students are not assessed on any subject area for which they have not been adequately

Classes and other L&T events

Staff are not obliged to confirm in advance an intention to strike, but it is permissible to ask in advance if they plan to take action. Where it is known an event will not take place, if possible, advance notice should be given to students. Staff who are taking industrial action should be encouraged to inform students of their intentions even if they do not wish to notify their Head of School or RI Director in advance. Heads of School or RI Directors who participate in industrial action are encouraged to discuss appropriate arrangements with College management. (Students should be reminded to monitor communications from Schools/RIs closely. While a range of media are used to communicate with students, please note that the GU student email address is the official channel of communication for students.) Particular circumstances to bear in mind in this regard are:

  • Part-time PGT student groups where there are concentrated periods of teaching that coincide with strike days[1]
  • Sessions due to be provided by guest lecturers or extracurricular events involving external speakers – it would be helpful to provide advance notice to such colleagues where possible that a session is not going ahead. (Where relevant, an external speaker could also be asked whether they are intending to take industrial action.)
  • Online courses that include live teaching or key preparatory work on strike days where students can be advised to make use of other available course materials
  • Impact on TNE courses: please liaise with the relevant TNE Dean for advice
  • Crises – Chief Advisers are being asked to ensure alternative sources of support are made known to students. Further information on supporting students in crisis is available at: https://www.gla.ac.uk/myglasgow/students/safetyhealth/

Where tutorials and other activities are scheduled for multiple groups of students taught by different staff members, there may be some instances where not all offerings of a particular activity are cancelled. In such cases, students belonging to cancelled groups should, where possible, be permitted to join the alternative sessions which are running. However, it must be noted that only where all students can be accommodated and can attend alternative sessions can the material covered in that session be included in an assessment. If any students are unable to attend an alternative group then the material should be removed from the assessment.

As they progress in their studies, students are expected to take increasing responsibility for their learning and, where possible, should be directed to alternative learning they can undertake – reading, Moodle materials, etc.

[1] In the event that there is an approach by an employer, it should be confirmed that some staff are taking industrial action, and that students who are affected by cancellation of classes are being encouraged to undertake self-directed study. If an employer asks, they should also be advised that the University does not believe that any student will be prevented from meeting the ILOs on time and that consequently there are no plans to refund tuition fees.

Rescheduling of classes

While other staff may make arrangements in practice, overall responsibility for arranging the rescheduling of classes rests with the HoS/DRI. Consideration should be given to rescheduling classes cancelled due to the industrial action if there is an opportunity to do so before the scheduled end of course assessment.

In addition to strike action UCU has called for its members to ‘work to contract’ until May 2022. The University’s position is that it does not accept that staff have the right to refuse to reschedule classes while working to contract where opportunities for rescheduling exist, and that it has the right to require staff to prioritise teaching activities over other duties on days when they are not taking industrial action.

In considering the possibility of rescheduling classes, consideration should be given to: i) the timing of the end of course assessment; and ii) the feasibility of providing alternative learning opportunities to students such as directed study, Moodle materials, use of reading lists etc. Priority should be given to rescheduling:

  • Classes in which in-class summative assessments should have been made, such as student presentations, class tests, quizzes etc.
  • Supervision sessions for UG/PGT dissertations, or classes where student presentation sessions for dissertations were
  • Classes which involve intensive/block teaching sessions, such as part-time PGT courses.

Examination preparation

In preparing for the forthcoming examination diet in April/May 2022, staff should adhere to the deadlines for exam paper submission issued by Registry https://www.gla.ac.uk/myglasgow/registry/staff/exams/dates/.

Students should be advised to prepare for examinations in the normal way.

Schools should try to ensure adequate learning opportunities have been provided for all course content (whether by means of taught classes or alternative learning opportunities, such as directed study, Moodle materials, use of annotated reading lists, etc). If, in exceptional circumstances, this is not possible, students should NOT be assessed on course content for which they have not been prepared. In such circumstances, students should also be informed of this.

Summative coursework

After the end of the period of strike action, all coursework submitted during the industrial action should be marked and this marking and associated feedback should be completed according to normal timescales applicable from the end of the period of industrial action.

Flexibility/leniency should be applied in cases where students have not adhered to submission dates that were set within the period of industrial action.

Submission dates for coursework assignments following the industrial action should be extended where learning opportunities have been disrupted, as it may be necessary to alter the content of the assignment, or to provide additional time to catch up on re-scheduled teaching or alternative learning opportunities.

Summative in-course assessment (where in-course assessments that have been missed count for 25% or less of the overall course assessment)

If, as a result of industrial action, any in-course assessments taking place during class time have been missed by the entire student cohort or part of the student cohort, and have not been re-scheduled at a later date, these should be removed from the calculation of the overall course grade, and the remaining components of assessment should be taken as representing 100% of the course assessment.

This action must apply to all students in the cohort, including any who have taken the affected assessment. In such cases assessments should still be marked and feedback to the student provided as normal, but the summative result will not be used in the calculation of the overall course grade.

Boards of Examiners must be advised of any courses where component grades have not been included due to missed in-course assessments.

Summative in-course assessment (where in-course assessments that have been missed count for more than 25% of the assessment)

Courses which include Honours students due to graduate in 2022:

Where possible, arrangements should be made to re-schedule the assessment opportunity before the end of Semester 2. Priority should be given to re-scheduling any assessments or other activities which are mandatory for the award of credit, or the award of the degree.

Where re-scheduling has not been possible in the above timeframe, any assessments missed by the entire student cohort or part of the student cohort should be set aside and the course grade re-calculated on the basis of the remaining components of assessment reflecting the true weighting of these components (see example in Appendix 1).

Boards of Examiners must be advised of any assessments which have been set aside on the basis of disruption due to industrial action. Honours degrees may be awarded on the basis of completion of 75%, or more, of the total assessment for the Honours programme. Where students have not completed 75% of the Honours assessment, due either to industrial action, or a combination of industrial action and accepted personal mitigating circumstances (‘Good Cause’), arrangements should be made, where possible, for further assessment opportunities to be provided during the summer to allow graduation in winter 2022.

All other students, including PGT, non-Honours, Junior Honours:

Where possible, arrangements should be made to re-schedule the assessment opportunity either before the end of Semester 2, or, exceptionally, in the case of continuing students, over the summer of 2022 or in the next academic year. If there are any courses where it will not be possible to offer students at least 75% of the course assessment, this should be reported to the Clerk of Senate as soon as possible by contacting clerk-of-senate@glasgow.ac.uk.

Boards of Examiners must be advised of any assessments which have been deferred on the basis of disruption due to industrial action.

Dissertations for Taught Degrees

In cases where students have not received scheduled dissertation supervision and/or access to specialist facilities such as laboratories, during the period of industrial action, a one-week extension should be applied to the dissertation submission date for all students in the cohort. This is irrespective of whether the missed supervision/access to facilities was re-scheduled after the end of the industrial action, or whether all/only some students in the cohort missed some supervision.

PGR Students

Problems concerning PGR vivas or supervision should be reported to the Senate Office: clerk-of-senate@glasgow.ac.uk.

Further advice and guidance

If colleagues require further advice or guidance on the above advice, please do not hesitate to contact me at jill.morrison@glasgow.ac.uk or Helen Butcher (helen.butcher@glasgow.ac.uk).

Information on complaints handling is provided at Appendix 2.