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Home  »   Latest NewsTrade UnionsPDA Students   »   Advice to pharmacy students as lecturers take strike action

Advice to pharmacy students as lecturers take strike action

The PDA has issued advice to pharmacy students who may face pickets lines and find that their lecturers and other course staff are not at work due to industrial action by members of the University & College Union. University staff are striking against unfair conditions including: insecure contracts, unpaid hours, low pay and minority wage gaps, cuts to pensions and more.

Wed 1st December 2021 PDA Union

Members of the University and College Union (UCU) are going on strike and 58 universities will be impacted by three days of strike action from Wednesday 1 December to Friday 3 December. These education staff are striking against unfair conditions including: inescure contracts, unpaid hours, low pay and minority wage gaps, cuts to pensions and more.

The PDA support the rights of UCU members to stand up for their rights at work through this dispute and respect their choice to take this action.  We believe that university employers need to work to end this dispute ASAP to minimise the effect on students’ learning.  There is more information about the dispute on the UCU website.

In the meantime, the PDA is issuing this advice to students and anyone employed by a university about what to do when faced with a picket line:

What to do when faced with a picket line –  If you are a student

Any university staff undertaking industrial action have a dispute with their employer, the university. However, you could find there are “picket lines” at your university and want to know what you should do.

Picket lines are a boundary established by workers on strike, especially at the entrance to their place of work, which others are asked not to cross so that the industrial action has the most impact on the employer’s activities, and to help put pressure on the employer to talk to the employees and resolve the dispute.

These demonstrations can only officially consist of individuals employed by the University, or those who lost their job for a reason connected to the dispute (and has not since started a new job with a new employer); or a union official picketing with the members they personally represent.

Therefore, as students, you cannot officially join a picket but you may wish to show your support by not crossing a picket line. You may also want to express your support for striking staff in person or online. You should take great care what you say or do on social media or elsewhere does not inappropriately criticise the university or any particular senior members of university staff.  Doing so could lead to your conduct being questioned, so please keep things positive.  If you plan to support the action at your university then please advise your lecturer/s in advance if you will not be attending lectures on that day.

What to do when faced with a picket line –  If you are employed by the university

If you are a post-graduate student and therefore an employee of the university, or have other employment at the university, then where another union undertaking industrial action establishes an official picket line, refusal to cross it would render a non-striking pharmacist liable to be disciplined, including the deduction of salary as it would be considered as participating in un-balloted industrial action.

The single exception to this is where there are genuine grounds to believe that crossing the picket line would put the person concerned at risk of injury.  In such circumstances, members should contact their senior/department manager/employer for guidance. In all other circumstances, members should cross the picket line if they are due to work.

Those picketing should be assured that PDAU members who cross the picket line will not undertake work that those on strike would normally have carried out, unless this is unavoidable due to patient safety and care which will always be the priority for pharmacists.  Pharmacists will always place patient safety first in accordance with their professional duties, the NHS terms of service and their employment contracts, however patient safety is unlikely to be a factor in a university setting.

 

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The Pharmacists' Defence Association is a company limited by guarantee. Registered in England; Company No 4746656.

The Pharmacists' Defence Association is an appointed representative in respect of insurance mediation activities only of
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and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (Register No 307063)

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