9 MAY 2019: SOAS UNISON Votes YES in Strike Ballot over OPS compulsory redundancies.
SOAS UNISON url: https://soas-unison.org.uk/news/industrial-action-ballot-soas-unison-votes-yes-for-ops-strike-action/
Main SU Landing page: https://soasunion.org/yourunion/schoolstructure/
SU Comms to All students - Friday 10 May 2019
We are writing to let you know of the result of SOAS UNISON’s (trade union for Professional services staff) ballot to take strike action over compulsory redundancies arising from the OPS restructuring. 92.2% of UNISON members (including academic department staff, library staff, IT staff, and cleaning staff), voted in favour of strike action on a 57.8% turnout, which is a resounding Yes. We stand with the unions and their workers, and support our staff in the fight against the opaque and unjust OPS restructuring. Historically as a Union, this is where we have stood. Of course, many of you will be concerned about what the strikes will look like and when they will take place - especially given it is exams season.
First, it is important to note that strikes will only take place in the case of compulsory redundancies. At this point in time, the School says it has ‘no plans’ to make any compulsory redundancies - but it is notable that this is far from an actual commitment; and this assurance far from reassuring to workers who are currently experiencing the restructuring in action. The UNISON Branch Committee will now meet with their UNISON Regional Officer to discuss next steps but staff are being told to be prepared to take action towards the end of May, if management don't provide the reassurances that UNISON have requested. For more background information, please see our main landing page on our website re: OPS.
UNISON and UCU will also be having a dispute resolution meeting with management on Thursday 16 May. We have written to them requesting a debrief ahead of that meeting, as the Sabbs, the PGR and PGT Officer, and Academic Affairs Officer will meet with management for Joint SOAS Board of Trustees/Academic Board, that same day.
Second, re: the timescale of the stikes. This is projected to be the end of May, with some accounts saying possibly the 29th, and some saying 30th. As soon as notice is given, we will send out an all-students email and update social media with more information. UNISON can carry out the result of this ballot i.e. strike until August, but for the strike to have maximum impact, it is imagined that a strike will be held over the exam period and graduation.
We fully recognise that this may add to students’ anxieties and frustrations. We ask for your empathy and for your support throughout this period, as strike action is truly the last resort to put pressure on management to ensure workers are being treated fairly. We are firmly committed to opening up and helping facilitate consent-friendly, intersectional spaces for discussion, debate and strategising.
The School has emphasised that their priority is student progression and exams will take place no matter what. Any exams that are disrupted will be noted by invigilators and due consideration when being marked. Below we have some quick Questions/FAQs summarised but if you have other questions or concerns please do not hesitate to get in contact with Co-President Democracy and Education, Tam Hau-Yu (email@example.com) or the SU Academic and Welfare Advice Caseworker, Susanna Momtazuddin (firstname.lastname@example.org) - as well as your usual other points of contact.
Love and solidarity,
Hau-Yu, Soph, Youssra xxxxxxxx