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University of Bath advertizes for strikebreakers

The University of Bath wants to break a strike and is happy to break its own rules to do it.

An email sent to postgraduate students in one department reads:

Due to possible industrial action on 25th and 26th May we are making alternative arrangements to cover invigilation of exams just in case.  Would you please let me know if you would be available to cover the following slots if required.

[Exam details removed to anonymize the department.]

You would need to be on campus at the times above as we may not know until the last minute if you are required or not.  Because we need you to be on campus we would pay you for the two hour invigilation whether you covered it or not.

Would you please let me know if you are available to cover either any of the slots.

Clearly, university management are worried about the effect of action on exams to the point where they are prepared to ignore their own rules. The university’s rule on Conduct of Examinations is clear:

Chief Invigilators shall be members of academic staff [These may be full-time, part-time, academic related or teaching fellows if they have the necessary experience.] except in cases where there is only one candidate to be invigilated.  Exceptions to this shall be approved by the University Learning, Teaching and Quality Committee.

Postgraduate research students are not academic staff in the sense of this rule.

On top of this, students taken on to do work of this type are hired through Joblink, the Bath Students’ Union service connecting employers to students seeking work. Their terms and conditions are quite clear:

15. JobLink will not handle a vacancy if an Employer wishes to recruit students to replace employees with whom the Employer is in industrial dispute.

University of Bath management are prepared to break a strike by ignoring their own rules and expecting the Students’ Union to ignore theirs.

UCU members are on strike on 25 and 26 May in pursuit of a claim for a decent pay rise, gender pay equality, and an end to casualized  and zero-hour contracts.

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