If you’re a student, the labour dispute will hit you too

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Even though your teachers would be the target of a lockout, it would also affect you and other students.

2018.04.09 | Marie Groth Andersen

Photo: Melissa Yildirim

The public sector labour dispute in short

Public sector employers and employees are currently negotiating collective agreements for public sector employees in Denmark, which includes university employees. But the negotiations have broken down, and the parties are now continuing the process with the help fo the conciliation board, where the official conciliator is attempting to mediate in order to help them reach an agreement. 

In connection with the breakdown of negotiations in February, the unions announced their intention to strike on 4 April – which would involve relatively few AU employees. The government, represented by Innovation Minister Sophie Løhde, retaliated by announcing a lockout of 120,000 state sector employees, including the majority of AU’s employees, on 10 April. The strike and the lockout will happen if the parties fail to reach an agreement by 4 April (strike) or 10 April (lockout). 

However, the official conciliator has the option of postponing both the strike and the lockout by 2 x fourteen days if she believes that there is a chance of reaching an agreement. In that case, the strike will take place on 24 April or 2 May. And the lockout will take place on either 24 April or 8 May. No one knows in advance how long a strike or lockout will last. The labour dispute ends when the parties reach a settlement, accept a draft settlement proposed by the conciliation board, or the government intervenes by introducing back to work legislation.    

 

Will I be hit in the event of a strike?

No. The groups of AU employees who have been selected to strike on 4 April are skilled tradesmen, assistant engineers, research technicians, kitchen personnel at cafeterias run by AU (in other words, not cafeterias run by Studenterhusfonden, for example), animal technicians, gardeners and cleaners. If your cafeteria is run by AU, it might be closed.

AU does not anticipate that teaching and exams will be affected by the strike if it happens. If this does turn out to be the case, students will be informed directly.

Will I be hit in the event of a lockout?

Yes. Even though the target of the lockout would be AU employees, it would also affect many students. There is a risk that your classes, supervision or exams will be cancelled because your teacher, supervisor or examiner will be subject to the lockout and not allowed to work. 

AU expects to announce how classes would be affected by the lockout after the Easter holiday.

Will I lose my SU in the event of a lockout?

No.    

Photo: Colourbox.com 

What will happen if my classes are cancelled? Will there be make-up classes?

AU will clarify this after the end of the lockout.    

Photo: Søren Kjeldgaard

What happens if my exam is cancelled?

You would not be able to take exams during the lockout. AU has announced than if your exam is cancelled, this will not mean you will have used up an exam attempt, and that wherever possible, the university will schedule make-up exams after the end of the lockout.

What will happen if I’m supposed to turn in my Master's thesis during the lockout?

AU has announced that students would be able to hand in Master’s theses – and written exams commenced before the lockout – during the lockout. But you can’t count on these exams being assessed by the normal deadlines. In the event of a lockout, you can turn in exams via AU’s digital exam system or by sending your thesis or paper to an email address which would be created in connection with emergency lockout backup. 

Can I contact my supervisor in the event of a lockout?

No. If your supervisor is locked out, s/he is not allowed to work, because a lockout is a temporary suspension of the employment contract. 

If you are unable to receive supervision because of the lockout, or you are unable to carry out relevant academic activities because you do not have access to equipment and labs, you may be able to apply for an exemption from the submission deadline. But applications for exemptions would most likely not be processed until after the lockout, according to AU. 

Can I come to the university in the event of a lockout?

Yes. It will be possible to access the buildings with a keycard in the event of a lockout However, some buildings may be closed because they are not being cleaned, because cleaners are also subject to the lockout. 

 

Photo: Lars Kruse

Will I be able to study the libraries and borrow books in the event of a lockout?

No. Libraries and library systems will be closed in the event of a lockout.

I am a student and I’m employed by the university – would I be subject to the lockout?

Possibly. It depends on what collective agreement you are employed under, and whether you are a member of a union – and in that case which union. Your employment contract states what collective agreement you are employed under.

In the event of a lockout, it would apply to you if:

  • you are a student employed under the HK (National Union of Commercial and Clerical Employees) collective agreement AND are a member of the HK union.
  • you are a Bachelor’s degree students employed under an AC (Danish Confederation of Professional Associations) collective agreement AND are a member of DJØF (the Danish Association of Lawyers and Economists) or DM (the Danish Association of Masters and PhDs).

You will NOT be subject to a lockout if:

  • you are employed under the HK collective agreement but are a member of a union other than HK, for example DM or DJØF.
  • you are a member of FADL (the Danish medical students’ association) or SUL (the union for university student workers), which are not involved in the labour dispute.
  • you are not a member of a union.

The lockout would apply to me, which means I would not receive my wages – am I eligible for strike pay/strike loans?

The unions are responsible for disbursing strike pay/strike loans to members who are involved in the labour dispute, so you should contact your union for more information on your situation.

I am a student employed by the university, and although the lockout would not apply to me, it would apply to my co-workers. What should I do?

Ask your manager before the lockout starts. You will probably be told to come to work as usual. But you are not allowed to do the work of co-workers who are locked out. This means that you are not allowed to take on tasks which are not being done because a co-worker is subject to the lockout. Your employer at the university cannot send you home without pay during the lockout, and you can only be asked to do work which falls under the scope of your employment contract. In other words, you may not take on different work, or more work, than usual.   

Photo: Maria Randima

What will be done about the Regatta in the event of a lockout?

The organisers of the Regatta are currently investigating whether –and how – the Regatta would be affected by a lockout at AU.  

Translated by Lenore Messick

The public sector labour dispute in short

Public sector employers and employees are currently negotiating collective agreements for public sector employees in Denmark, which includes university employees. But the negotiations have broken down, and the parties are now continuing the process with the help fo the conciliation board, where the official conciliator is attempting to mediate in order to help them reach an agreement. 

In connection with the breakdown of negotiations in February, the unions announced their intention to strike on 4 April – which would involve relatively few AU employees. The government, represented by Innovation Minister Sophie Løhde, retaliated by announcing a lockout of 120,000 state sector employees, including the majority of AU’s employees, on 10 April. The strike and the lockout will happen if the parties fail to reach an agreement by 4 April (strike) or 10 April (lockout). 

However, the official conciliator has the option of postponing both the strike and the lockout by 2 x fourteen days if she believes that there is a chance of reaching an agreement. In that case, the strike will take place on 24 April or 2 May. And the lockout will take place on either 24 April or 8 May. No one knows in advance how long a strike or lockout will last. The labour dispute ends when the parties reach a settlement, accept a draft settlement proposed by the conciliation board, or the government intervenes by introducing back to work legislation. 


More information:

  •  Check out AU's info site about the labour dispute (link removed June 1, as the page no longer exists).

 

 

 

 

 

 

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