Striking Cardiff Uni lecturers will picket at all graduations amidst ‘summer of chaos’

Graduating students will be handed UCU sashes they can wear to show support

Cardiff Uni lecturers will be picketing at graduations as part of the ongoing dispute between the UCU and Cardiff University.

Lecturers who are members of Cardiff UCU will protest everyday outside of graduation events dressed in academic gowns amidst a “summer of chaos”.

Pink UCU sashes will be handed out for graduating students to wear and they will also be invited to write messages to the vice chancellor to decorate UCU spaces.

This means that lecturers who are UCU members will not be attending graduation ceremonies and will instead be picketing outside where they will be held at St David’s Hall in Cardiff city centre.

Andy Williams, a Cardiff University lecturer and UCU spokesperson, told The Cardiff Tab: “Sadly, this will affect our members being able to attend graduation ceremonies and will mean we are standing outside uni venues protesting on picket lines instead of inside celebrating our amazing students’ achievements over the last three to four years.

“This isn’t something we do lightly, but we’ve been forced into by the ‘punishment beating’ style pay deductions our members are facing for taking part in the assessment boycott.

“Personally, as a member of staff who loves attending graduation celebrations to support my students, this makes me very sad. I know other Cardiff UCU members feel the same way.”

The intention of the strike days and picketing is “designed to hit the university where it hurts”.

The UCU will be striking during graduation, confirmation and clearing during A-level results week, and Welcome Week in September.

Andy added: “The vice chancellor and the University Executive Board are the ones responsible for this mess.

“The university still has time to avoid a Summer of chaos, and unprecedented scenes of staff in academic gowns protesting outside graduation events, but so far it has ignored our requests to negotiate.”

A Cardiff University spokesperson said: “It is a matter for an individual to decide if they take part in industrial action. However, we know that our staff look forward to Graduation and to celebrating their students’ successes.

“We hope that most of our staff will choose to avoid taking action that will have a negative impact on these celebrations.”

“We appreciate how frustrating this situation is for our students and the uncertainty that UCU’s assessment and marking boycott is causing. It is important to stress that this is a national dispute over levels of pay and working conditions. The University therefore cannot solve these issues independently.

“We are, however, committed to the joint national consultation process and to finding an affordable solution that recognises the highly valued contribution of our staff.”

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