Your Advice Service

Strike Action - What it means for students

Find out what the UCU (University and College Union) strikes are and what it may mean for you as a student.

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Update (23/2/23):

Since this article was posted, UCU (University and College Union) announced on 17/2/23 that they were pausing their actions for the next two weeks whilst negotiations continued. This means strikes scheduled for:

  • Week 4 - Tuesday 21, Wednesday 22 and Thursday 23 February 
  • Week 5 - Monday 27 and Tuesday 28 February and Wednesday 1 and Thursday 2 March 

will not go ahead. All strike dates after these currently remain in place. 


As you may already now, the UCU (University and College Union) has voted to take strike action over an ongoing dispute in relation to pay, working conditions and pensions. UCU has confirmed there will be 18 days of strike action between February and March 2023, and you can find the dates below:

  • Week 1 - Wednesday 1 February  
  • Week 2 - Thursday 9 and Friday 10 February 
  • Week 3 - Tuesday 14, Wednesday 15 and Thursday 16 February 
  • Week 4 - Tuesday 21, Wednesday 22 and Thursday 23 February 
  • Week 5 - Monday 27 and Tuesday 28 February and Wednesday 1 and Thursday 2 March 
  • [No action week commencing 6 March]
  • Week 6 - Thursday 16 and Friday 17 March 
  • Week 7 - Monday 20, Tuesday 21 and Wednesday 22 March

Edit (Monday 20 February): Strike Action postponed for Week 4 and Week 5.

In addition to the strike days, union members are being asked to take action short of a strike. This means staff will not be doing work that is beyond what is required in their contract, which could include:

  • not working extra hours
  • 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
  • not taking on voluntary activities.

You can read the statement from Your Officers about the UCU industrial action here



Will a list of cancelled classes be made available to students? 

Striking staff members do not need to notify the University that they are striking. The University, therefore, cannot know which members of staff will be striking until it happens, so it is not possible to provide a list of cancelled classes. Striking staff members may choose to communicate with students that they are striking. Please check your emails and Aula regularly for updates. 


Does this mean I don’t need to go to my classes, or will I get an extension on my work?

Do not assume at any point that a deadline has been extended or that a class has been cancelled. Until you receive confirmation of anything from a member of University staff, you should continue as usual. Please ensure that you attend all timetabled classes unless told otherwise and that you submit your work to original deadlines. You will be regularly updated with any changes on Aula, and via email, so please pay attention to these.


My studies are impacted by the strike. What can I do? 

If the University has been unable to mitigate any impacts that the strikes have had on your education, you may wish to make a complaint. Your Students’ Advice Service advises you do the following if your studies are impacted by strike action:

  • Keep a log of any lectures, seminars or other teaching sessions that are cancelled due to strike action (include dates, times and details of the session, such as for which module it was for)
  • If you incur costs (such as travel or childcare costs) to attend a teaching session or meeting on campus that is cancelled with no notice because of the industrial action, keep a log of when this was, what you were coming onto campus for and how much it cost you to travel (keeping receipts or screenshots of tickets bought could be helpful)

You can find more information about the university’s complaints procedure on Your Advice Services’ webpage on complaints against the University here. For additional support, you can also contact Your Students’ Union Advice Service.

If, following a Stage 1 and Stage 2 complaint, you are not satisfied with the outcome, Your Advice Service can support you in escalating your complaint to the Office for the Independent Adjudicator. You can see information on their approach to students affected by strike action through their case summaries.


Will I get a refund of my tuition fees?

In the University’s General Regulations, they outline:

1.17.1. The University Group shall not be liable to students or be deemed to be in breach of contract by reason of any delay in performing, or any failure to perform, any of the University Group’s obligations in relation to the provision of courses and related services, if the delay or failure was due to any cause beyond the University Group’s reasonable control.

1.17.2. e) strikes, lock-outs or other industrial actions or trade disputes (whether involving employees of the University or of a third party).

The University will try to mitigate the impacts of the strikes and to ensure that you are not disadvantaged in any way by the strike action, such as re-scheduling lectures and seminars or delivering the content in a different way to ensure you are still receiving the content. These will be decided as any potential impacts of the strikes are revealed and so none of these are currently arranged. Please pay attention to emails and Aula for updates on what action is being taken to support you through the strike action.

If the University makes changes to mitigate any impacts on yourself and your studies, it is unlikely that you will receive a tuition fee refund for missed classes or inability to access services.

You can refer to the “My studies are impacted by the strike, what can I do?” question for what to do if you would like to make a complaint.


Will this affect my attendance requirement, which can affect my Visa?

The Home Office Student Sponsor Guidance (June 2021) confirms that if an “expected contact” such as a lecture, seminar or individual supervisory discussion can’t go ahead because of the industrial action, this should not be recorded as an unauthorised absence.


Can I apply for an Extenuating Circumstance Request because of the strikes?

The strike action will not be considered a reason to apply for an Extenuating Circumstance Request, and any applications made on these grounds will be denied. If any of your teaching and learning experience or an assessment is impacted through the strike action and the university does not put measures in place to mitigate these impacts, Your Advice Service can support you in exploring the option of complaining to the university. You can speak with Your Advice Service if you have any questions about or want to discuss an extenuating circumstances request by completing our online enquiry form at


I want to support the UCU strike. How can I do this? 

Students wishing to support UCU can make a choice not to cross the picket lines. These will be boundaries set up by striking staff on campus, usually at the entrance to a University building, which people are asked not to cross.

To support the striking staff, you may also decide to study in a public library, at home or café instead of a University building. Find out more about supporting the strikes from the UCU here.


I am stressed about this situation. Where can I get help?

Not knowing whether your classes may be cancelled or having uncertainty about anything may be stressful. We would recommend that you reach out to the Health and Wellbeing services for any support that you need. Please find the webpage of support for your campus below:


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