Find out what the UCU (University and College Union) strikes are and what it may mean for you as a student.
As you may have seen in emails sent by the University, the UCU (the University and College Union) have voted to take strike action on:
- Thursday 24 November 2022
- Friday 25 November 2022
- Wednesday 30 November 2022
This means that on these dates, any classes, drop-ins, supervision or anything else run by University staff may be cancelled at short notice. It may also affect your ability to access and use services if the staff striking are the ones that would typically run these.
University staff do not have to inform students or other staff that they intend to strike but have been encouraged to do so.
Who are UCU and why are they striking?
The University and College Union (UCU) represents over 120,000 academics, lecturers, trainers, instructors, researchers, managers, administrators, computer staff, librarians and postgraduates in Universities, colleges, prisons, adult education and training organisations across the UK.
UCU Coventry branch members, amongst over 70,000 other university staff at 150 universities across the UK, have voted to strike due to threats to their pay, poor working conditions and high workload, casualisation of contracts and lack of equality within the Higher Education sector.
What is Your Students’ Union doing to support students during this period?
Please find Your Students’ Union’s statement on the UCU strikes here.
Your Advice Service can support you in any complaints that you wish to make regarding any of the negative impacts that the strikes have had on you as well as in any additional support you may need.
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 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 I will 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. You can do this by following the guidance 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 in escalating your complaint to the Officer for the Independent Adjudicator. You can see information on their approach to students affected by strike action through their case summaries.
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.
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 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 do not put measures in place to mitigate these impacts, Your Advice Service can support you in exploring the option of complaining to the university.
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.
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: