This is what went down at today’s strikes Q&A with the Vice-Chancellor

Compensation, complaints, pensions and pay


With the next round of strikes just round the corner, we all want to know what is being done to minimise the impact on our education.

At today's strikes meeting, Vice-Chancellor Colin Riordan addressed problems such as potential compensation for students, pensions and working standards. He asserted that he "fully respects the rights of staff" and said that this round of strikes are "by far the worst he has ever encountered".

The individual impact on each of the main schools was also addressed. Each school promises clear communication, alternative means of covering content that will be missed and additional resources, as well as changes to examinations so that unfulfilled topics won't be included.

Here's everything that was discussed:

Tuition Fees

In response to a student's question concerning tuition fees and whether monetary compensation will be on the cards, the VC said that financial compensation was "one of many remedies available" and that there will be individual assessment on the impact of each case.

He said that "fees cover a whole host of things apart from tuition" and that 50% of our payment goes on resources other than our tuition, such as building works.

Complaints

In response to anxieties concerning student compensation, the head of registry, Rhodri Evans, talked about a bespoke complaints procedure where the first, informal stage of the complaints will be removed. He encouraged students to complain as problems arise throughout the strikes, although he specified that the 2018 strikes would not be included in this procedure.

A suggestion regarding the money that the university would save through the strikes was that disadvantaged students should receive more financial support, following on from a decision at Sheffield University. However, the VC replied that "a lot of money is already given to disadvantaged students". He said that the money saved from the strikes will be used in compensation for students, with any extra funds being put back into the affected schools.

What the university is doing in response

He also disputed the possibility that third-year students may not be able to graduate, saying that there would be "no obvious reason why students wouldn't be able to graduate", however he did admit that a strike extension may cause problems.

One student brought up the extensive strike action within the last two years and the severe affect it has had on students. They asked what the Vice-Chancellor is personally doing for the students affected and why the university is not showing leadership regarding the national strike action.

The VC denied the claim that Cardiff University was not showing leadership in this matter, and repeatedly stressed that "Cardiff has no worse a record than other universities: in terms of the gender pay gap, pensions, and instability in contracts for postgraduates". This is despite the fact that Cardiff's gender pay gap has been revealed to be 21%, one of the worst universities nationally.

With strike action looming, the Students' Union has urged students to seek free, independent advice regarding both the strikes and compensation. They have asked students not to withhold fees from the university, and instead to follow the complaints procedure available.

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