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Student occupiers in Stirling force bosses into talks

TALKS are set to begin between students occupying management buildings in Stirling and university bosses.

Members of the University of Stirling Solidarity Network (USSN) have been staging a sit-in in the Cottrell building on the campus since November 26 in a show of solidarity for the recent University College Union (UCU) strike action.

Having threatened students at the weekend with disciplinary action, management has now agreed to discuss USSN’s demands, the group said.

These include that UCU striking members suffer no further financially penalty for their industrial action.

USSN has also asked that greater mental health provision is put in place at the university, along with a reduction in student rent rates.

In a statement, USSN said: “Students are demanding that university management meet with the local UCU branch to enter into dialogue.

“The university’s efforts to create a positive working environment for students and staff will continue to be futile so long as the basic needs of education workers are not met.

“They have similarly failed to meet the basic needs of students.

“USSN are proud to say that they have been able to achieve a meeting with senior management as a result of direct action.”

According to occupiers, any attempt to end the occupation would also require talks with striking members of the UCU.

However, when asked whether the USSN demands would be met, bosses complained about the “dangers” of the action.

A university spokesperson said: “The university respects the rights of students to make their voices heard; however, this must be done safely and in accordance with fire — and health and safety — legislation, as well as university regulations.”

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