Students launch petition calling for re-sit fines to be withdrawn
The GCU branches of the University and College Union (UCU) and the Educational Institute for Scotland (EIS) both called today for the senior management at Glasgow Caledonian University to reconsider their decision to fine students, who need to undertake re-sits of exams or of modules.
From the coming semester, students re-sitting exams will now have to pay £40, and the increased cost of re-sitting a module will rocket ten-fold, from £30 to £300.
Said Douglas Chalmers UCU president at Glasgow Caledonian:
“The unions at Glasgow Caledonian are extremely proud of the university’s wider access approach which leads to many more students being able to access HE education than would have been the case previously. We fear this new approach however, will set this mission back, and will hit students from disadvantaged families – making it yet another problem for them to overcome. We also have grave concerns how this may impact on students with disabilities or illnesses during term time. We are therefore fully in support of the campaign by the local students union against what they call the ‘re-sit rip-off’ and will be raising our views with senior management in order to seek a more appropriate approach to dealing with students’ academic difficulties”.
The unions also announced they had sent an appropriate message (see here) to the local students forum pledging their support for their campaign, and urge full support for their campaign – highlighted on their website here.
The national executives of three of the unions at GCU have decided in the last week against strike action in the immediate future but are continuing to demand that the scandalous situation regarding their members pay and pensions be resolved by employers and government.
On 21st March the national executive of Unite decided to suspend their ‘industrial action short of strike’ which had consisted of working to contract following the imposition of the 2011 pay and conditions set out in the offer from UCEA. The union intends this suspension to allow for constructive negotiations to take place and is specifically for the period of the 2012 New JNCHES negotiations from 30 March until end of May 2012.
If a settlement on the 2011 disputed matters is not made within the defined period above, then unite warns that the industrial action may be reapplied.
This follows on the UCU National Executive decision that members in Scotland and Northern Ireland will NOT be asked to strike on 28th March, although they have called a one-day strike and demonstration by London TPS members on the 28th. UCU Members outside of London are asked to show solidarity with colleagues by attending any local rallies or events if they can.
On the 15th March it was announced that the executive of the EIS had suspended strike action on 28th March over pensions.
In a ballot of EIS members, 74% had indicated that they would be prepared to take strike action over pensions, however the union said its lobbying on the issue had “borne fruit” with the Scottish government and local authorities agreeing to negotiate with teachers’ representatives.
EIS general secretary Ronnie Smith said: “The EIS Executive meeting today decided that entering into negotiation with the Scottish government and employers offers the opportunity to find a Scottish solution to pension provision.
They went on to warn that “The EIS is clear that further future action will be contemplated if satisfactory progress in pensions cannot be achieved in Scotland.”
Showing that you’d have to get up early in the morning to beat the unions at GCU, a piper regales the security staff as they march off the campus at the turn of midnight on the 29th. Organised by Unison and supported by the joint unions – these staff braved the worst weather Glasgow could throw at them. Here’s a great video of it from YouTube, by Keith Boyd (Thanks Keith), followed by some good photos: