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Students’ Union at University of Northampton withdraws support for University and College Union (UCU) strike

Union Strike outside Northampton University Park Campus over pension cuts.

Union Strike outside Northampton University Park Campus over pension cuts.

The Northampton branch a lecturers’ union said it is “regrettable” the University of Northampton’s students’ union has withdrawn support for their ongoing strike action.

The students’ union has announced, following a student council meeting in March, that it was withdrawing support for the of the University College Union (UCU) campaign against the one per cent pay rise they have been offered.

The students’ union in Northampton said it had pulled its support for the strike due to the UCU’s support of a possible marking boycott set to begin on April 28.

The student union’s support for the UCU has in the last few months extended to the free use of their building in Park Campus and support from Students’ Union President Haviour Chen, in her role on the Board of Governors of the university.

Miss Chen said “It was the wishes of the council, convened in March, to pull support of the UCU if they were to proceed with a marking boycott. “Throughout the year students have debated this issue, but a marking boycott has implications for job applications, further study and - in the case of our international students - their visas. Student Council felt we could no longer support a campaign that is so willing to look past the experience of our students.”

A statement released by the Northampton branch of the UCU states the Northampton students’ union is “at odds” with the National Union of Students (NUS).

The statement reads: “It is regrettable that Northampton SU have made this announcement. However, it is at odds with the position of the National Union of Students and of many Northampton students who are supportive of UCU’s stance.

“They all understand that our employers, acting through University and Colleges Employers Association, are directly responsible for the marking boycott due to their failure to negotiate.

“UCU members have every sympathy with our students, notably finalists, who may be adversely affected by UCEA’s intransigence. We will endeavour to support them in whatever ways we are able during the marking boycott.”

The two unions recently took differing views on the behaviour of vice-chancellor Nick Petford at a sport awards event at Franklin’s Gardens.

The UCU released a statement condemning the vice-chancellor’s behaviour as promoting a “laddish culture” and bringing the university into disrepute.

But the students’ union defended the vice-chancellor and said it was “fantastic” that he helped celebrate student successes at the sports awards.

 

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