"The Open University, along with more than 60 others around the UK, is caught up in industrial action called by with the University and College Union (UCU) over future pension arrangements.
"I very much hope that this long-running and complex dispute can be resolved in national negotiations, and I welcome the agreement by both sides to recommence talks at ACAS.
"In the meantime, I wanted to assure you that we at the OU are doing all we can to minimise the disruption to your studies. So far, we have succeeded in operating a largely normal service, although regrettably we have had to cancel a small number of tutorials. Strikes are scheduled for four days this week and five days next week and we will continue to work hard to minimise the impact on you. The marking of course work should not be unduly delayed but we are anticipating that there may be some delay for students expecting module results in the week commencing Monday 12 March 2018. We have been in contact with the students who may be impacted and will indicate on Friday when they should expect receive their results.
"I have received a number of messages from students in support of the UCU’s aims and, of course, I respect their point of view. It is my belief, though, that the University’s tight resources, which derive overwhelmingly from students’ fees, should be focussed on the immediate needs of our students. For that reason, we have decided to channel any savings on salary payments resulting from the strike into a hardship fund, which supports students facing difficulties.
"The OU is proud to be helping our students change their lives and develop their careers. You are at the heart of our founding mission to extend the benefits of higher education to all, regardless of background or past qualifications, and there you will remain."
Vice-Chancellor, Peter Horrocks