UCEA and trade unions work together to provide principles for safe staff plans to return to campus

2 June 2020

UCEA and the HE trade unions (EIS, GMB, UCU, UNISON and Unite) have worked together to provide the sector and its staff and students with a joint statement of ‘Principles for working safely on campus during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic’*. 

With lockdown restrictions starting to ease these joint principles aim to support HE institutions in their intricate planning to ensure their campuses are safe as possible with the health and wellbeing of staff, students and all visitors their number one priority.  

While all HE institutions are using ongoing government guidance and public health as the basis for their response to the Covid-19 pandemic, individual institutional responses will need to consider and factor in local conditions and circumstances. 

The government guidance does not supersede existing health and safety legislation and HE institutions will continue to abide by these obligations, including the legal duty on employers to conduct risk assessments. 

The principles also include vital key considerations in returning to campus such as risk assessments with relevant advice and expertise, the need for clear communications with trade union representatives, staff and students on health and safety issues related to Covid-19, and assessment of how the transition could affect different cohorts of staff with equality considerations included. 

Raj Jethwa, UCEA Chief Executive said: 

“UCEA and trade union representatives have worked together to provide the sector with these joint principles for safe plans for staff returning to campus. We are all acutely aware of the need to work together to help the sector navigate the staffing issues created by the Covid-19 pandemic and these principles are another important piece of the jigsaw.”



The joint principles are also an appendix to UUK’s ‘Principles and Considerations: emerging from lockdown’.

For further information please contact: Andy Fryer, Head of Communications and Membership (a.fryer@ucea.ac.uk) or Marc Whittaker, Communications and Events Manager (m.whittaker@ucea.ac.uk).