Solidarity with the Civil Disobedience Movement in Myanmar

This Motion to Congress was passed at the branch meeting on Wednesday March 10th

Congress notes: 

  1. That the military in Myanmar have seized power and are conducting mass arrests of activists across the country. 
  2. That part of the Civil Disobedience Movement is organised from university campuses, involving student-led protests and strikes by academics. 
  3. That the military is brutally suppressing this resistance, arresting at gunpoint a union leader at Yangon University, Professor Arkar Moe Thu, on 2 March 2021.

Congress resolves:

  1. To extend our solidarity to the Civil Disobedience Movement, and to demand the release of Professor Arkar Moe Thu and others held by the regime. 
  2. To negotiate for students applying from Myanmar to be allowed to use alternative criteria to the IELTS exam due to internal restrictions in the country. 
  3. To demand that universities audit their investments and partners to sever connections with organisations and individuals that are linked to the Burmese military. 

Motion on Health & Safety

The following motion was passed at the Wednesday 3rd February branch meeting.

This meeting notes:

  • the emergence of new, more infectious variants of the coronavirus.

This union branch believes:

  • The UK’s awful record in relation to Covid-19 deaths is directly attributable to the government’s mishandling of the pandemic, with national guidance marked by u-turns, slow responses, and the erroneous belief that economic health could be prioritised over human health. This has been experienced very acutely in the higher education sector where the drive for face to face provision has contributed directly to infection surges among students and the wider community.

Therefore, this meeting resolves:

  • to call upon UoN management to end its policy of delegating leadership to a discredited government who have proven themselves incapable, and to instead start taking decisive action to make the health, wellbeing and security of staff and students the central priority above all others.
  • to demand that where essential activities cannot be carried out remotely, personal risk assessments (PRAs) are conducted with each member of staff that is asked to attend campus. PRAs should include travel to and from work, and relevant personal circumstances. All risk assessments – including of work spaces – should take into account the new variant of the virus and all control measures need to be in place before any member of staff is required to attend work. Building risk assessments must reflect reality – with no repeats of the situation in Medicine during last term where staff were not informed of a failure to meet air change requirements.
  • to demand that essential in person teaching on ‘Tranche 1’ courses (Medicine; Health & Social Care including Nursing & Midwifery; Physiotherapy; Veterinary Science; Education including initial teacher training; and Social Work) be re-timetabled to later in the academic year, once vaccinations of students and staff have been initiated more widely.
  • to request that only staff and students with negative test results no older than 72 hours be allowed into in person classes and that staff and students be provided with FFP3 mask to attend campus.
  • to demand that UoN management work with other public bodies, such as local councils, Public Health England, and community organizations – as well as trade unions – in a transparent manner, in order to develop a strategy that is forward-looking and in the best interests of all residents of our city.

Motion on in Person Activities

The following motion was passed at the Wednesday 3rd February branch meeting.

This meeting notes:

  • In separate surveys 60% of University of Nottingham UCU members reported they felt unsafe undertaking work on campus, and 72% identified current workloads as unsustainable.

This union branch believes:

  • That the UK’s awful record in relation to Covid-19 deaths is directly attributable to the government’s mishandling of the pandemic. This indecisive ‘too little, too late’ approach has not only caused unnecessary deaths but has contributed to a continuous state of chaos and uncertainty.
  • That UK death rates are so high partly as a consequence of a second wave which the higher education sector made its own disastrous contribution to by prioritising a return to campus in September, despite warnings of the consequences.
  • That the repeated failure of University management to respond proactively to the crisis has resulted in increased workloads and intolerable pressure, and that the continuing lack of clarity about plans for teaching for the remainder of the academic year is now adding to already dangerous levels of anxiety and stress and negates the possibility of planning appropriate mitigations

Therefore, this meeting resolves:

  • to urge the University of Nottingham to declare that all, but essential activities will remain online for the remainder of the academic year, or until infection rates are minimal. Making this decision now will allow staff to plan work adequately and avoid needless uncertainty and stress.