UCU industrial action to take place in late November

The national University and College Union (UCU) has announced plans for nationwide industrial action towards the end of November 2022, including strike and action short of strike, which may affect your studies.

The national University and College Union (UCU) has announced that strike action will take place across the UK on Thursday 24, Friday 25 and Wednesday 30 November 2022. 

The action is taking place over a dispute about pay and pensions. At UCL, staff will be striking alongside a period of continuous ’action short of strike’ (ASoS). UCU has met all the legal requirements for calling lawful industrial action. Not all UCL staff are members of the union.    

You can find out more about what this means for you below.

When will the industrial action take place? 

  • Strike action will take place on Thursday 24, Friday 25 and Wednesday 30 November 2022 
  • Action short of strike is planned to run continuously, starting on 23 November 2022 and finishing no later than 20 April 2023. 

What does strike action mean? 

Strike action is when staff refuse to work. At universities, this includes not doing any work-related activity, such as teaching students, marking coursework, undertaking research, attending meetings, sending emails related to work and carrying out administrative tasks. It also includes not preparing for work scheduled after the member returns from strike.    

Striking staff may create a picket line by standing outside their workplace to tell people why they are taking part in industrial action and they might ask you not to cross the line. 

What is action short of strike (ASoS)? 

Action short of strike is when staff take other action, such as limiting some work-related activities. UCU has confirmed that their planned action short of strike will consist of staff only working their contracted hours and duties and not volunteering to do more; not rescheduling classes and lectures cancelled due to strike action, not covering for absent colleagues, and removing uploaded materials related to, and/or not sharing materials related to, lectures or classes that will be or have been cancelled as a result of strike action.    

What does this mean for me? 

It is difficult to predict the impact of this period of industrial action because not all UCL staff will be on strike. 

On the three strike days, your classes and lectures could be cancelled. You may also find that libraries, offices and support services are closed or not fully staffed and so opening times and services might change at short notice. When you are on campus, you may see picket lines made up of striking staff outside UCL buildings. They may be handing out information and they may ask you not to cross their picket line.     

Striking staff on picket lines are not allowed to prevent students or any staff who are not taking part in the strike from coming onto campus or entering any UCL buildings. Although picket lines can sometimes appear intimidating, it is important to remember that the staff on strike have no grievance with you, their students, and they will fully respect your right to go about your business as usual. 

If you feel at all intimidated by picketers, please inform UCL Security by calling 222 from a UCL landline phone or +44 (0)20 7679 2222 from a mobile.   

You can also get in touch with UCL’s Security team at the touch of a button by downloading UCL’s Safezone app - find out more.  

If you experience any inappropriate behaviour please visit Report and Support to report this.    

How can you find out whether your classes are affected? 

It is difficult for us to predict what will happen on a strike day because striking staff do not have to tell UCL in advance of their intention to strike. Your department will  do everything possible to inform you about changes to the teaching schedule through the usual channels, i.e. email and Moodle.    

Throughout the period of action, you should:    

  • Keep a close eye on your UCL emails and look out for Moodle page announcements. 
  • Stay informed by following the links in this update and looking out for announcements in the media.    

What support is available if I miss out on teaching due to staff taking part in industrial action?  

UCL will try to minimise the disruption to your learning as much as possible, and, remember, many staff will not be on strike. It is important to note that you will not be assessed on any material that has not been taught as a result of strike action.  

We are working with departments to ensure adequate support is made available for you to meet your learning outcomes where your teaching is affected by industrial action. 

If you believe the mitigations provided have not been sufficient to meet your learning outcomes, you can let us know by making use of UCL’s Student Complaints Procedure. 

Do striking staff get paid? 

Staff taking part in strike action do not get paid for the days when they are on strike. Staff taking part in action short of strike are paid as usual unless they fail to undertake specific contractual duties that are part of teaching, such as setting, marking and returning assessments. 

Unpaid salaries from striking staff have always gone directly towards supporting our students.  

Funds from strike action in 2021 and 2022 have been, and will continue, to be reinvested into schemes which support students who are in unexpected financial need, such as UCL’s Financial Assistance Fund. Funds from the upcoming strike action will be put into Students’ Union UCL’s Sarah Douglas Hardship Fund. 

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