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As a student, what do I need to know about the labour dispute?

The collective agreement negotiations for state sector employees (OK18) collapsed in February. The intent to strike was then announced by the unions. In response, the formal employer of all public sector employees, the Agency for the Modernisation of the Public Sector, announced a lockout of all public sector employees. Because Aarhus University is part of the state sector, the lockout will apply to the majority of Aarhus University employees. It is important to note that the strike/lockout may be called off if a compromise on a collective agreement is reached before they are scheduled to begin.

The announced labour dispute applies to Aarhus University in two ways. 

  • Some employees have been selected to strike by their unions starting on 6 May* 2018. If the strike takes place, it will apply to about 150 employees.
  • Other employees will be affected by the lockout the Agency for the Modernisation of Public Administration has announced starting on 12 May. If it occurs, the lockout* will apply to the majority of employees at AU, which means that it will affect much of the university.

Because the strike/lockout would affect you as a student, we have put together a FAQ where you will  find the answers to the most important questions.

*The conciliation board has postponed the labour dispute for the second time, and the strikes are now scheduled to begin on 6 May at the beginning of the day (00:00 hours), and the lockout is set to begin on 12 May at the beginning of the day (00:00 hours).

However the official conciliator has the authority to declare that the impasse cannot be resolved and to break off negotiations. If this happens, the strike and lockout will take place on the fifth day following the announcement.

Questions and answers

1. If there is a strike starting on 6 May, will it affect my classes and exams?

For most students, teaching and exams will not be affected, but if this should be the case, the students will receive direct communication to that effect. 

2. Would my classes be cancelled during the lockout which is scheduled to start on 12 May?

Much of Aarhus University will be affected if the lockout becomes a reality. We are in the process of evaluating whether it would still be possible to offer classes and if so, to what extent. We will make an announcement to students as soon as possible. 

3. Would classes which are cancelled be offered again later?

We are in the process of evaluating whether it would still be possible to offer classes and if so, to what extent. The following is only relevant in the event that classes are cancelled:

After the labour dispute is over, AU would explore the possibility of rescheduling strike-hit classes. However, we cannot guarantee that this would be possible.

If courses are rescheduled after the labour dispute, they will be offered within the limits of available classrooms and teaching and planning resources, and might possibly be scheduled early or late in the day. Classes might also take place in other ways than originally planned.

If classes are cancelled, it will not be possible to determine in advance what will happen with regard to courses which are passed through active participation or with regard to courses in which classroom participation is a condition for taking an exam, as this depends on the length of the labour dispute, its timing, etc. In some cases students may be eligible for exemptions – on the basis of an individual assessment of the concrete case – if classes are cancelled because of the lockout.  

4. Would exams and exam submissions be cancelled/postponed during the lockout?

No exams would be offered during the labour dispute. Cancellation of an exam would not mean that you lose an examination attempt.

As far as possible, AU would reschedule exams after the end of the labour dispute. 

5. Is there a risk that cancelled exams would be held in the summer?

AU would make every effort to ensure that exams and co-examination take place within the normal deadlines, but this cannot be guaranteed. If exams were delayed, students would be able to apply for an exemption from AU’s rules on active enrolment and/or maximum degree completion time. 

6. Would AU’s buildings still be open during the lockout?

If there is a lockout, you will still be able to enter AU’s buildings with a keycard, so you would still be able to use study spaces, hold study group meetings, etc.

But AU’s buildings would not be cleaned during the labour dispute, because it also applies to cleaning staff. If at some point AU decides that the condition of the buildings means that keeping them open would be irresponsible, the university reserves the right to restrict access to buildings.

Concerning access to AU Library, read below p. 14.

7. Can I turn in my take-home assignment (on a topic of my choice choice or on an set topic), my Bachelor’s project or my Master’s thesis during a lockout?

During a lockout, you can turn in theses and written assignments that you started on before the lockout. But the university cannot guarantee that your paper would be graded within the normal time limits. You would be able to submit your paper via AU’s digital exam system or by forwarding it to a special email address which will be established in connection with emergency back-up preparations.

If you are unable to receive supervision because of the labour dispute, or you are unable to carry out relevant academic activities (for example, because you do not have access to equipment and labs), you would be able to apply for an exemption from the submission deadline. You should assume that applications for exemptions will not be processed until after the labour dispute ends. 

8. Would a lockout have an effect on registration deadlines and application deadlines?

The conflict might mean changes to registration and application deadlines, for example in connection with registering for courses. 

9. What about my application for admission?

The lockout might affect processing of applications for admission (to Bachelor’s degree programmes, supplementary subjects and Master’s degree programmes). If the labour dispute lasts for a long time, it may be necessary for AU, other educational institutions and the relevant ministries to agree on new deadlines. 

10. Would a lockout affect payment of my SU grants/loans?

You should continue to receive your SU as usual during a lockout. However, if there are any problems with payments, Aarhus University cannot guarantee that the university would be able to help you during a labour dispute.

When the lockout begins, the university will stop monitoring active enrolment. This means that SU payments would not stop during the lockout, if if there are pending cases related to active enrolment. 

11. Special information for students with disabilities

During a labour dispute, the university would not be able to refer you to special educational support services, and some special educational support services would be unavailable (for example reading/writing assessment/guidance). 

12. Are there any special issues that international students from non-EU countries need to be aware of if there is a labour dispute?

According to the Agency for International Recruitment and Integration (SIRI), there is no risk that students from non-EU countries would have problems with residency as a consequence of a labour dispute, as long as they resume active enrolment again when the labour dispute ends.

After the labour dispute ends, AU would make it a priority to follow up on the consequences of the labour dispute for exchange students at AU, including their ability to participate in classes and exams which have been postponed. 

13. Would I be able to get guidance from a student counsellor during a lockout?

Some student counsellors are employed under a collective agreement which is not covered by the lockout. However, the university would not be able to guarantee access to student counsellors during a labour dispute. 

14. Would I have access to AU Library during a lockout?

The libraries and library systems would be shut down during a lockout. This means you would not be able to use the library, including library study spaces, even with a keycard.

15. Will there be access to online resources at the library?

The library system and website will be shut down, which means that database lists, overviews and remote access to digital publications will not be possible. However, direct access to these resources will still be possible on campus, for example through services such as Google Scholar.

16. If the deadline for turning in a book falls during the labour dispute, will fees be charged?

Loan periods for books will be automatically extended during the labour dispute. This means that fees will not be incurred during this period.

17. I’m a medical student. Will my clinical training be affected?

If the labour dispute becomes a reality, MSc medical students will receive information about their situation a few days before it begins. This information will be sent to students’ AU email addresses, along with information about transportation refunds where relevant.

18. Laboratory work

You should expect that the labs will be closed during the labour dispute. However, on the basis of an individual assessment of the concrete case, exceptions may be made in cases in which the labour dispute puts students behind on their work.

19. How will internships and fieldwork/work placement be affected?

If the company is not affected by the labour dispute, you can continue your internship or fieldwork/work placement. However, the university cannot guarantee that you will receive supervision during this period.

 

 

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