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UCU responds to Labour call for student vaccine focus

27 July 2021

UCU has welcomed Labour joining the union's calls for students to be prioritised for vaccines

In its 'post-16 education recovery principles' launched last week, the union made a number of demands on government and education providers including the need for both to work with local NHS providers to make vaccines available for students ahead of September. 

The union says delivering a consistent, high-quality education recovery relies on a total focus on keeping infections down and has also called for masks to be worn whilst on site (excluding those with exemptions) and for education providers to conduct new and robust risk assessments ahead of September.

Jo Grady, general secretary, also demanded that institutions developer proper plans to support student's mental health and to take steps to ensure staff don't have excessive workloads, saying: 

'It is welcome that Labour has joined UCU in calling for all eligible students to be vaccinated, and for government, universities and local NHS providers to ensure this can happen on university premises, allowing for an effective roll-out. However, it is essential that any additional funding required to set up vaccination centres or staff them is forthcoming from government.

'Ensuring our universities and colleges avoid last year's levels of disruption and students receive a consistent, high-quality education requires more than just vaccinations. Providers should be working with trade unions to carry out new and robust risk assessments, develop plans to meet the mental health needs of students and prevent burnout amongst staff - who last year held up the entire education system, and have been offered a real terms pay cut in return and been forced to fight to keep their jobs.'

 

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