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'Constructive' meetings see University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) strikes suspended

By Gregor White

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Strike action at the UHI Executive Office has been suspended at least until the new year. Picture: Callum Mackay
Strike action at the UHI Executive Office has been suspended at least until the new year. Picture: Callum Mackay

Representatives of the UHI executive office and the UHI branch of the University and College Union (UCU) say strike action has been suspended.

Staff and management within the UHI Executive Office have been in dispute over plans for £4 million in budget cuts, with dozens of jobs potentially at risk..

At the end of October they confirmed two days of strike action planned for around then had been called off.

Now today they say strike action has been suspended until Friday, January 26.

A statement issued this afternoon reads: "As part of this agreement the university has provided further and more detailed assurances on its commitment to collaborating with UCU to negotiate a Recognition and Procedural Agreement that is mutually acceptable to all involved parties with the aim of achieving this agreement by Wednesday 14 February 2024 and to continue to work on other policy areas."

UHI interim principal and vice-chancellor Vicki Nairn said: “Our talks with UCU have been productive and collaborative in their approach.

"We acknowledge the positive impact that a collaborative working relationship with UCU can have on both the organisation and our workforce and are committed to continuing our talks to negotiate an appropriate recognition agreement.”

Heather Fotheringham, UHI-UCU branch president said: “We welcome the commitment from our employer to work at pace on formalising trade union recognition arrangements with UCU. Our members want this process to deliver a more constructive relationship with our employer which will benefit staff and students at the University of the Highlands and Islands”.

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