Newcastle University
Image: Geograph / Andrew Curtis

Staff at Newcastle University given Fridays off

Staff at Newcastle University have been given Fridays off and will still be paid.

The university has also chosen to halt pay deductions due after the strike action that took place for 14 days over February and March. 

The university’s executive director of People Services Adrienne McFarland said the university told staff “we absolutely want to protect all of your jobs”. 

The move by the university is an effort to provide stability in these “really uncertain times for them”, she said.

“It is all about the culture that you want to have and doing the right thing by your people and standing by them.”

The University and College Union (UCU) said the “goodwill and commitment of staff is essential for a successful shift to remote teaching, so that students can complete their courses and graduate”.

Action has also been taken to extend fixed-term contracts which were due to end or redeploy staff whose work was coming to an end. 

It is all about the culture that you want to have and doing the right thing by your people and standing by them

– Adrienne McFarland

The university confirmed that reports that staff had been made redundant or had their contracts terminated due to the coronavirus were not true.

Ms McFarlane further commented that those on fixed-term contracts had received notice in the usual way in January and February, confirming the end date of their contract. 

The university has paused deductions for “the foreseeable future” that were incurred as a result of industrial action

Ms McFarland said: “We understood that this is generally an anxious time for people and we didn’t want to add to that uncertainty.”

UCU officials and staff have been “very helpful and supportive” at this time while work has been transitioned to online “at breakneck speed”, Ms McFarlane added.

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