The Students’ Representative Council (SRC) and Student Services Council (SSC) held a joint meeting on Tuesday 22 October to discuss the support for the faculty and staff strike, affirm their opposition to tuition fee rises, elect a new community relations officer and address several changes to the SSC.
The SRC discussed whether it would support staff in industrial action on 31 October when the three staff unions – UCU, Unite and Unison – will strike over a pay dispute. Staff have only been offered a one per cent pay rise this year and as this follows several years of below inflation pay rises they are now facing a 13 per cent pay cut in real terms since 2008. This is the first time all three unions have gone on strike on the same day and may lead to some disruption to teaching and University services.
The motion stated that the SRC “should support staff in their strike action because they are a vital part of our university and should be paid fairly for the work they do.” 21 members voted that the SRC should support to strike and to inform students of the strike action so that they understand the reason for it and know how to support it if they want to. One member voted against the motion.
In a student wide email, Students’ Association president Chloe Hill said that both she and the Students’ Association “believe that staff welfare is as important as student welfare, and a possible disruption for one day is better than the possible long-term disruption caused by staff worrying about finances.” There will be a meeting on Monday 28 October at 1 pm in School 3, St Salvator’s Quad to provide information to those who are interested in supporting the strike.
The SRC also voted to reaffirm their opposition to increased tuition fees. Oxford University vice-chancellor Andrew Hamilton recently suggested that students should pay up to £16,000 pounds per year to attend some UK universities because it costs significantly more than the current fee of £9,000 to educate a undergraduate student.
Teddy Woodhouse, director of representation, stated that he was against raising fees because education should be “a public good, rather than a commercial service.” The resolution was adopted with no objections.
Following the resignation of the previous community relations officer, the SSC and SRC held a joint meeting so that a candidate could be co-opted. Second-year student Katie O’ Donnell was elected as the new officer.
Lastly, the Student Services Committee made several changes, removing several honorary members from their Committee, debating allowing non-students from joining societies and changing the process by which the SSC is allowed to disaffiliate societies. Following much debate, the joint meeting agreed to delay voting for another meeting. The resolution was not voted on.