Edinburgh University lecture recordings used against strikes

Edinburgh University's Old College building. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Edinburgh University's Old College building. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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A teaching union has accused Edinburgh University of preparing to use old recordings of lectures to break the ongoing strike over pensions.

The University and College Union (UCU) says the head of the university’s law school e-mailed senior staff asking them to identify lectures missed due to strike action “in order to have its recorded counterpart from last session uploaded” for students.

Last night student leaders criticised “re-running” lectures and called on the university to negotiate with staff.

The UK-wide strike, now in its third week, centres round cuts to the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) which would see lecturers lose £10,000 a year in retirement.

Lecturers and academic professional staff in nine other Scottish universities are taking part in the action involving 14 days of action.

Mary Senior, UCU Scotland official, said: “It’s bad enough the new principal at Edinburgh has sat on his hands and not taken steps to resolve the dispute over cuts to his employees’ pensions until now, but it’s quite another thing for the university to be proactively taking steps to break the strike in this underhand way.

“Students deserve the full attention of lecturers and not out of date recordings recycled by university management.”

Jodie Waite, NUS Scotland vice-president, said: “The idea of serving up recordings of classes from years gone by – all in the name of undermining staff and lecturers’ campaign for fair terms and conditions – beggars belief. Staff and students deserve better.

“Good lectures can’t just be reduced to re-runs, they should be engaging and relevant to the time in which they’re delivered.

“The only positive solution to these strikes for students is universities getting round the negotiating table and reaching an agreement with their staff.”

A university spokesman said: “The Law School has, for a number of years, made recordings of lectures from previous sessions available to students when lectures have had to be cancelled.

“This is a continuation of that existing practice. Law students are required by the Law Society of Scotland to study specific subjects as prerequisites for professional practice.

“If the university did not ensure the continued delivery of teaching, students’ future careers as practising lawyers would be jeopardised.”