Moments ago [Tuesday, 20 February], the Joint Councils unanimously endorsed a motion supporting the UCU strikes.
The motion specifically called on the Student Representative Council (SRC) to support members of the University taking part in the UCU industrial action, including the strikes.
All present members voted for the motion, with no members abstaining. About 50 people were in attendance in total, a combination of members of the Joint Councils and guests.
The SRC resolves: To urge the University not to penalise the absence of students from tutorials and lectures
Students Alexandra Weiler and Leonie Hoher proposed the motion, which garnered over 420 signatures before the meeting. These signatures are still to be fully ratified.
The motion resolved to encourage the senior management team of the University “to reconsider their position in order to pressure the UUK to return to negotiations with the UCU.”
The motion also resolves to “urge the University not to penalise the absence of students from tutorials and lectures during the period of the strike,” referring to students who decide not to cross the picket line for classes that still continue during days of action.
Association President Lewis Wood began by commending the organisation of the proposers. However, he later voiced his concern over the motion, noting that he and Zachary Davis had received emails on both sides and that “student opinion is quite divided over this issue.”
Director of Education Mr Davis was not present at the meeting and apologies were made for his absence, though a reason was not stated.
During her initial presentation, first year Ms Weiler said, “This is not only a political point but also a human point.”
She later added, “The quality of teaching we receive is directly linked to their wellbeing.”
I’m not going to be able to feed myself
Ms Weiller also advocated for students not to attend their lectures, as she urged students to leave “University buildings empty in solidarity with their teachers.”
Anindya Raychaudhuri, UCU representative for the School of English, spoke during the meeting, saying, “I’m not going to be able to feed myself. I’m not going to be able to heat my house, assuming I have a house.”
He continued, “Losing 14 days pay over striking is not fun. Many of our members are worried if they’ll be able to pay rent at the end of this month.”
“I fully support this motion” – Lewis Wood
Student Adam Strømme, member of the St Andrews Socialist Society and a member of Polis, claimed the pension was not in a deficit and noted that votes for potential strikes on the issue have occurred in the past.
He advocated in favour of the motion, saying, “If we contact and pressure Sally Mapstone, if we pass this motion, if we continue to keep up this pressure … it is likely to bring them back to the table sooner.”
In their weekly Students Association email on Monday, 19 February, Mr Wood invited students to the Joint Councils meeting, saying, “We’ll be discussing UCU strike action at our student council tomorrow! Come along to the Committee Room at 6pm if you’d like to make your opinion heard.”
Over 50 people, including Council members, had attempted to gain entry to the Council meeting. However, following concerns about health and safety, only ten guests were permitted to remain in the room, while more than ten others listened outside of the venue in the hallway.
A further compromise was made in that the Association Councils took the unprecedented step of streaming the meeting on Facebook Live.