Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

St Andrews University ‘deeply saddened’ by union’s Covid-19 stance as ‘failure to agree’ notice lodged

St Andrews University .
St Andrews University .

St Andrews University and union leaders are on a collision course over the institution’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Green MSP Mark Ruskell has warned the university’s management to start taking its staff concerns seriously if a crisis is to be avoided on campus after the St Andrews branch of the University and College Union (UCU) lodged a “failure to agree” notice with the university, indicating a failure in the formal consultation process.

The UCU, which represents academic and related staff at St Andrews, has previously outlined concerns about risk assessments and staff workloads and has repeatedly insisted staff should not be “coerced” into in-person teaching with the default position of working from home.

EXCLUSIVE: ‘We are not disposable’ – Union’s revolt over St Andrews University Covid-19 return plans

St Andrews University has defended its approach and said it was “deeply saddened” by the position taken by the UCU.

Calling on university chiefs to “change course”, Mr Ruskell pointed to education secretary John Swinney’s comments this week that “high quality” dialogue between management and staff is fundamental to navigating the current situation.

“Unions have been warning St Andrews’ management for weeks now that their plans were simply not good enough but it’s clear their concerns have been ignored,” he said.

“The formal notice of a ‘failure to agree’ is ultimately a failure of the university management’s duty of care to both its staff and students.

“In August the First Minister told me staff should not be put under pressure to contravene Government guidelines, but that’s exactly what’s happened at St Andrews.”

A St Andrews University spokesperson said: “While we understand that everyone feels anxious in these difficult times, the UCU position completely misrepresents the situation at the University of St Andrews.

“From longstanding and frequent discussions involving all the campus trades unions, UCU and Mr Ruskell are very well aware that we are cautiously phasing in a modest level of safe, risk-assessed, in-person teaching to complement our on-line offerings, while keeping the entire operation constantly under review.

“This approach is important for students’ wellbeing and social inclusion as well as their education, and is in lockstep with Scottish Government policy.”

The university added a clear majority of students want in-person teaching, and classes run at St Andrews already this term have had a hugely positive response from staff and students.

The spokesperson added: “We are deeply saddened that the formal UCU stance of resisting in-person teaching appears not to prioritise those values of care and inclusion.

“It also contrasts starkly with the constructive professionalism of the other campus trades unions, Unite and Unison, who have formally distanced themselves from UCU’s stance.

“Fortunately, the great majority of our colleagues across the board are responding magnificently to the challenges of research, teaching and running the university in the present circumstances, with the interests of students and the safety of our community to the fore.”

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]