National strike action at UK universities
Staff who are members of the University and College Union (UCU) have been asked to take part in industrial action as part of two separate disputes over pay and pensions. This is national action and will affect a large number of universities in the UK.
We have been notified that strike action will take place at the end of this month, on 24, 25 and 30 November. Continuous UCU action short of a strike (which is planned to include staff not covering for absent colleagues or sharing materials relating to missed sessions) will start from 23 November.
This means that some staff at Solent University who are UCU members will be asked to support this action. However, all other staff are expected to work normally on these days, and we’ll be doing all we can to minimise any impact on your learning.
Please take a look at the Q&As below to find out more.
In the meantime, please watch out for communications from us about the strike action.
Why is the industrial action happening?
Industrial action is due to take place at 150 UK universities across the three days and relates to two separate disputes, one in respect of the pay award 2022/23 and conditions, and one in respect of the pay award and the USS pension scheme.
Solent University is impacted due to a dispute over the 2022/23 pay award only.
What is Solent's position?
As a university we are very aware of the financial pressures facing staff, and have recently put a range of measures in place to support all colleagues.
We were also pleased to support the 2022/23 pay round, which included a:
- pay increase of 3% for employees on spinal point 20 and above, and
- pay increase of between 3.1% and 9% on a sliding scale for employees on spinal points 3 to 19.
It is important to note that matters relating to pay awards are discussed on a national level and can only be resolved through national negotiations.
When will the strikes happen?
The University and College Union (UCU) have asked their members to go on strike on three dates – Thursday 24 November, Friday 25 November, and Wednesday 30 November. Some of UCU’s members will strike, and all other staff are expected to work normally on these days. UCU have also asked their members to take action short of a strike from Wednesday 23 November.
What is action short of a strike?
Action short of a strike (ASOS) is defined as other industrial action that is not a strike. UCU has advised that the action short of a strike in this period will consist of its members:
- working to contract,
- not covering for absent colleagues,
- not rescheduling teaching sessions due to strike action,
- not sharing materials relating to lectures or classes cancelled as a result of any strike action,
- not undertaking any voluntary activities.
What will the strikes mean for me and my course?
Your wellbeing and education is, as always, our top priority at Solent, and we appreciate you may have concerns about possible disruption to your learning.
The majority of staff will be working as normal during the period of strike action, but some areas of the University are likely to experience higher levels of industrial action than others.
We are working with colleagues across the University to minimise the impact of any action on your teaching and timetables.
What if my teaching does not take place?
Most teaching and assessment sessions, including examinations, will go ahead as planned. You should assume that this will be the case unless you are specifically advised by your module tutor or by the University that a teaching activity will not take place.
We have asked staff members to advise us if they intend to take part in industrial action so that we can minimise the impact on you. UCU has advised its members that they should not inform the University before taking strike action but should confirm their participation the day after the strike.
If a member of staff does not arrive for a teaching session at its planned start time, you should wait a few minutes to be sure that they are not running late before leaving the room. Because staff members will inform the University of their participation after the strike, we will be aware which sessions have been missed.
We are committed to maintaining the quality of your learning experience throughout the industrial action. Where teaching sessions do not take place, we will ask staff to rearrange teaching or provide you with alternative learning materials or support after the period of strike action. Some staff may choose not to do so. If this is the case, we will be aware of this and will take further steps to make sure that you are not disadvantaged as a result.
What about exams or assessments?
You should attend exams and submit your assessment as planned.
What if I can't attend rescheduled classes or lectures?
During a strike, teaching may be postponed and rearranged for another time. We know some of you have other commitments like looking after children or a job, so we will do all we can to accommodate these – please just talk to your lecturer or course leader and let them know.
I'm an international student - will the strike action affect my visa status?
No. There will be no impact on your student visa as we will continue to monitor your attendance as normal.
You should attend timetabled activities as normal unless you are specifically advised by your module tutor or by the University that a teaching activity will not take place.
If any classes or contact points are missed because of the strike it will be recorded as authorised absence.
Who should I contact to find out more?
You can talk to your course leader about plans for your learning or, if that isn’t possible, please speak to the Student Hub.
What if I want to complain about the impact of the strike on my studies?
We’ll be doing everything we can to ensure the strike action doesn’t seriously impact your studies and expect most teaching to go ahead as planned, but we know that any disruption is unsettling. If you’re worried, please speak to your course leader or contact the Student Hub.
Following their return to work, we will be asking any staff member who takes strike action to support you with the required learning opportunities so that you can achieve the intended learning outcomes for your modules and course.
If after this, you remain dissatisfied and wish to make a formal complaint you can also talk to the Student Hub to find out how to do this. We take all complaints very seriously and will get in touch with you as soon as possible to see how we can resolve them.