News Article

UCU & Unison Strikes March/April 2022 UPDATE

KCLSU logo in purple background

Monday 28th March will see the start of a further five days of industrial action, called by members of the University and College Union (UCU) over the continuing disputes with Universities UK (UUK) over pensions, pay and working condition. The upcoming strike days follow on from the industrial action seen last December and February and the ongoing action short of strike (ASOS).

In addition staff who are members of another trade union, Unison, have also balloted to take industrial action on 5th and 6th April, following on from the strikes they took in early March.

While KCLSU’s position continues to not support the UCU strike, based on last autumn’s members’ meeting and associated vote by King’s students, we are all too aware that the upcoming strike is likely to cause more disruption to lectures, classes and assessments. 

As your student representatives, the KCLSU student officer team have been working to ensure the university truly understood the impact of the industrial action for all of you. We are pleased that as a direct result of these discussions and lobbying, King’s has agreed to pay the costs of graduation gown hire for all King’s graduands attending ceremonies this year. We understand that the university will also be sharing this news with graduands directly.

The KCLSU student officers expect that students will experience a loss to learning and enjoyment and strongly encourage any student who wishes to complain and claim compensation for loss of learning to do so by submitting your complaint to King’s Student Conduct & Appeals team.

We’ve prepared a quick guide with everything you need to know as a student at King’s, as well as relevant resources and information. You can download the document or see the information below. 

The university has stated it will remain open and that not all courses will be impacted and students should continue to have access to facilities on campus, e.g. study spaces, libraries and computer rooms.

For further information from King’s on the industrial action click here


Quick FAQ

Background Information

The University and College Union (UCU) represents over 110,000 academics, lecturers, trainers, instructors, researchers, managers, administrators, computer staff, librarians and postgraduates in universities, colleges, prisons, adult education and training organisations across the UK.

The current dispute is in relation to the future of the pensions scheme available to academics and lecturers who are part of the UCU as well as pay and working conditions. 


When are the strikes taking place?

The Universities and Colleges Union (UCU) has balloted to strike on basis of the Pensions with Universities UK (UUK). The strikes are planned to take place over 5 days in late March, early April, together with the continuing action short of strike (asos) until May 2022.

The full strike dates are:

  • Monday 28 March to Friday 1 April

Where will the strikes take place?

It is envisaged that the strikes will take place across all King’s campuses.


What is Action Short of Strike (ASOS)?

Action Short of Strike (ASOS) is when lecturers take strike action into their daily working life outside of any strike days. At the moment the precise nature of this is unclear because UCU determine it. ASOS can run simultaneously to strike action and continues until UCU calls it off. In the past this has included staff only providing timetabled learning, with no additional learning opportunities, they are not available during office hours, and lecturers do not cover colleague’s classes during periods of absence. We understand that there is a strong possibility that ASOS this will include an assessment and marking boycott and are in discussion with the university to better understand the mitigations they are putting in place to prevent loss of learning.


What is the KCLSU Officer position on the strikes?

Students are at the heart of all our efforts, as we work to ensure that every student has an opportunity to thrive. Historically KCLSU has fully supported strike action, most recently in 2019.

Since October 2021, the KCLSU Officer team have taken a stance not to support the strikes. This decision followed an informative, balanced and discursive members’ meeting, after which hundreds of students voted for or against the motion ’Should KCLSU support the UCU strikes?’. The majority voted for KCLSU not to support the strikes.

Our main priority is to support students as best as we can during this time and ensure that their needs and best interests are put first. For instance, we will continue to work with postgraduate members to ensure that the university properly addresses their specific concerns as well ensure students do not miss out on learning, enjoyment of learning and damage to their wellbeing. 

You can contact the student officers by emailing [email protected]


Who can I complain to about missed teaching, loss of enjoyment or impact on my wellbeing?

If students are not satisfied with the measures King’s take and wish to complain, they will be directed to a specific industrial action’s complaints process managed by the Student Conduct & Appeals Service at King’s. You can find more details here

KCLSU will not handle complaints about missed teaching but can offer support and free, confidential and impartial academic advice to students with issues affecting their studies.

We’re here to help students in a way that is non-judgemental, straightforward and empowering.

Our advice team can be contacted via our online form and our Hubs desks.


Will KCLSU buildings and services be open?

Yes, all KCLSU buildings, cafes, bars, and study spaces will be open as usual. If you arrive on campus to find your lecture cancelled, our spaces are open for you to use.

Our Hubs desks will also be open as per usual opening times.


Can KCLSU rooms and spaces still be booked and used during the strikes?

Yes, KCLSU rooms can be booked and used during the strikes in the usual way. Our Hubs desks will be open at all four of our campuses and can assist with any bookings.


Where can I go to study during this period?

KCLSU spaces will remain open – we have study, relaxation and venue spaces at Guy’s, Strand and Denmark Hill.

Other University of London libraries may also be open, and you should have access to them as a KCL student. However, if they are also picketed and you wish to avoid them then you can also consider other options such as:

  • Your local library in your borough
  • Online resources
  • The British Library
  • The Barbican Library (The Barbican Centre)
  • The Poetry Library (Southbank Centre)
  • The National Art Library (V&A Museum)
  • Tate Library (Tate Britain)

Again, please do not hesitate to reach out to KCLSU Advice via our online form for any academic or welfare related help and support.


Can my nonattendance affect my visa?

King’s has said:

"Your Student visa conditions are not affected by the industrial action. Unless you are told that a session has been disrupted, you should attend as normal, and the normal processes for attendance monitoring will apply to undisrupted sessions.

If a session is disrupted due to industrial action, this will be recorded by the university as a cancelled session, and this will not have a detrimental impact on your attendance record for the purposes of your Student visa.

If your lecture or class is cancelled, you will be recorded as an ‘authorised absence’. You should make a note of the cancelled lecture or class." 


Can I submit a mitigating circumstances form if my studies are being affected by the strikes?

The university’s position is that there should be no need for you to fill out a mitigating circumstances form, because departments will put in place measures to minimise the impact of strikes on your learning.

However if you feel that this is not sufficient and that your performance in a particular examination is still being affected, do submit a MC form, explaining why you feel that this is the case.


How can KCLSU advice team support me?

If you feel your studies, your enjoyment of studies or your wellbeing are being affected and would like to talk to an adviser do get in touch and we can guide you through your options.

To contact us please fill out our online form.


Where can I go to get additional mental health and wellbeing support?

Chaplaincy – Emotional support and practiced listeners

Big White Wall – 24-hour confidential online support and wellbeing service

If you are struggling with your mental health and wellbeing, you can register for counselling appointments and access different support options at student mental health support.

You can also speak to your registered GP.


I want to start a campaign about this issue – how do I do this?

If you would like to start a campaign about any issue connected with the strikes, you can do this through the online KCLSU campaigns process. You will be supported throughout from developing your campaign idea, to getting it launched once it receives support from King’s students. Visit our campaigns pages for find out more.


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