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The Open University branch of the University and College Union

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OU Senate workshop on a UCU strike day

University and College Union

We are asking members to email the VC to protest about the refusal to re-schedule the Senate workshop on 22nd February for a non-strike day. Please feel free to copy in the university secretary Keith Zimmerman. 

There is suggested text below explaining the reasons for this, and please feel free to add to it or modify it.

In addition to the scheduled date falling on a strike day and factoring out UCU members on Senate, there are other valid arguments for re-scheduling this workshop for a later date. Given the complex and far-reaching nature of what is to be discussed Senate members were given relatively short notice that this workshop had been re-purposed to discuss Charter and Statutes.

Email addresses of all staff including the VC can be found from the staff directory at https://msds.open.ac.uk/staffdirectory (link for OU staff only).

Please feel free to forward this email to colleagues, and ask them to support the request for this workshop to be re-scheduled.

Dear Mr. Horrocks

As you’ll be aware, UCU have called strike action for 14 days over February and March, in response to proposed detrimental changes to the USS pension scheme. 

You’ll also be aware of the Senate workshop taking place on 22nd February on the OU Charter and Statutes.

Our Charter and Statutes fundamental to our institution, to the rights of staff, and to academic freedom, and it is crucial that all voices are heard and that there is time for reflection and for seeking advice before changes are seriously considered.

Holding this workshop on a strike day will factor out the voice of UCU members on Senate, thereby removing a principal source of independent opinion and experience. I understand that requests to re-schedule this workshop for a non-strike day have been refused. I am therefore writing to ask you to re-consider this decision and to re-schedule to ensure that UCU senate members are able to fully participate in and engage with this critical process.

Furthermore, it is clear there should be a broader discussion amongst the OU community, and sufficient time allowed to consider carefully the role of our current Charter and Statutes, as well as what is proposed to take their place. This is a further reason why the Senate workshop should be postponed.

Trust in senior management of the University is currently low, and there is a high level of anxiety about the direction of proposed changes in the university. Taking this action would be a concrete demonstration of your stated commitment to ensure all members of staff are able to participate in shaping these crucial changes.


We have also asked members to volunteer for picket lines at Milton Keynes, Nottingham, Manchester, Cardiff, Edinburgh and Belfast - please email ucu@open.ac.uk if you can join the picket lines on any of the strike days.

UCU's picket line guidance is at this address: www.ucu.org.uk/media/1132/Branch-picket-guidance/pdf/ucu_picketing-guidance1.pdf

Strike day dates:

Week 1 – 22nd and 23rd February
Week 2 – 26th, 27th and 28th February
Week 3 – 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th March
Week 4 – 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th March

If you use Twitter then please use our hashtag, #oubucu in your tweet and it will then appear on our photo wall on this website.

To follow us on Twitter go to this address: https://twitter.com/oubucu

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