Industrial Action

Update 14 April 

On Monday, 3 April UCU announced that its members had voted to continue industrial action. This industrial action could include strike or other forms of action, for example, the UCU has announced its intention to hold a marking and assessment boycott which will commence on Thursday 20 April unless discussions before then result in a change to the Union’s plans.  

We know this is an uncertain time for you and our aim is to reduce any uncertainty as much as possible, by reducing the impact of this industrial action on you.  

Many of our staff are working as usual, so please continue to engage fully with your studies, by attending scheduled teaching sessions as planned on your return from Easter break.  

We will continue to work with departments to assess any impact on your studies and will review and update our FAQs below. We will be in touch with you again with more information as soon as we can.

In the meantime, if you have any particular concerns, please get in touch with your department or through Tell Us Now. 

General Strike Information - FAQs

What should I expect during Industrial Action and Action Short of a Strike?

Industrial action is legal action taken by members of a trade union to protest against their employer. The most common form of industrial action being a strike.

During strike action, staff may refuse to work and join a picket line at entrances to protest.

Alongside striking UCU members will also be undertaking Action Short of a Strike (ASOS) which in this instance means that members taking part will be:

  • Working to contract. 
  • Not undertaking any voluntary activities. 
  • Not covering for absent colleagues. 
  • Not rescheduling lectures or classes cancelled due to strike action. 
  • 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 is the strike action about?

The University and College Union have called strike action over pay and pensions. You can find out more information on the UCU webpages here:

Industrial Action – Impact of Learning

What will happen with exams? 

We are working to minimise the potential impacts of UCU industrial action on exams/assessments at the end of semester 2. 

It is our expectation that your assessments, examinations and graduation ceremonies will go ahead as planned. This means that you should continue to submit work and attend assessments and examinations as scheduled. 

As before, most staff will be working as usual. However, there is potential that a small number of assessments and/or exams will be affected during the coming assessment period.  

Our Senate has already approved emergency regulations to minimise the impact of the UCU action.  These regulations will ensure as far as possible that you are able to receive module results, progress in your study schemes, receive award results and, where qualified, attend graduation ceremonies in the future.  

Where we find exceptions where students can’t meet programme learning outcomes or satisfy Professional Statutory and Regulatory Bodies requirements due to the impact of the UCU industrial action, we will work closely with those students to agree a path which will transition them to the next stage of their learning.  

Further information about the amendments to our examination conventions is available here: 

What happens if my lectures are cancelled?

You should attend all classes that does take place.

If any of your scheduled teaching time is cancelled, you should use available course resources (for example, course reading lists) to continue your learning for your courses.

Where my teaching has been cancelled, how will my department ensure content is adequately covered?

Your department may reschedule your teaching, or offer relevant sessions at other times, or provide alternative materials for you to review independently, or provide online asynchronous teaching, or offer a combination of these alternatives. 

Where your teaching has been cancelled and it has not been possible for your department to ensure content has been adequately covered, your department will ensure that any subsequent assessment you take (i.e. coursework, exams etc.) does not test you on this content.

If my lecture does not run, will I be marked as absent?  

While it is possible that your record will show an absence for a class that does not run, please do not be concerned about this as no action will be taken where classes do not take place because of industrial action.

What should I do if I have missed a teaching session because it did not run because of strike action?

Please be reassured that attendance monitoring will not involve follow-up action on teaching sessions missed due to the UCU industrial strike action.

What should I do if I have an assessment due?

You should assume that all deadlines for coursework remain in place and plan to submit your work accordingly.

Should your submission deadline be affected by strike action your department will advise you accordingly.

Normal penalties will apply to work not submitted by its confirmed deadline date.

Will the strike action impact on my ability to graduate?

The University is working to minimise any potential impact of the industrial action on those who would be expecting to graduate this summer, and we expect all eligible students to be able to graduate as planned.

What about compensation and fee refund requests?

We’re doing everything we can to ensure that you won’t be disadvantaged by the industrial action. This includes putting in place mitigations to help remedy the impact of strikes and support students, as well as making sure you're not assessed on any material missed because a teaching session was cancelled. 

It is also important to remember that not all staff will be on strike and campus is open as normal.

As an evolving situation, we currently cannot fully assess the impact of industrial action on teaching and learning, or accurately evaluate if support and mitigations put in place sufficiently remedy the effect of strike activity. This is because measures will vary depending on your area of study and may be enacted now, later in the term, and across the duration of your programme. This means that we are not planning to consider compensation and fee refund requests relating to the current period of industrial action until we can take full account of the impact upon our students.

We will keep this position under review.

I am studying on a Student or Tier 4 visa – how might I be impacted?

The UK Government has confirmed that classes cancelled due to industrial action should not be treated as an unauthorised absence. Therefore, if your lecturer is on strike, this will not count as non-engagement.

Should the Student Immigration Service contact you regarding your lack of academic engagement for this period, you will be given the opportunity to explain that this was due to cancelled study activities due to industrial action. In such instances, please be assured that you will not be penalised for non-engagement.

Support for Students During Industrial Action

If you have any concerns that are affecting your mental health and wellbeing, our student support services are still available to you. 

You can find useful support information and contact details here: