This week will see the start of three 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 conditions. The upcoming strike days (Thursday 24, Friday 25 and Wednesday 30 November) follow on from the industrial action seen last March and the new Action Short of Strike (ASOS) which will be remain until 20 April 2023.
In addition, university staff who are members of another trade union, Unison, have also balloted to take industrial action on Thursday 24 and Friday 25 November, following on from the strikes they took in April.
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.
In contrast to last year, the KCLSU student officers have decided not to take a position as a team but instead stay true to their positions as individuals, meaning that KCLSU has a neutral position – not supporting nor opposing the UCU strikes. The team have made this decision in recognition that the differing views and positions among the team reflect the different views among KCLSU members. So they have decided that it would not be a true reflection of students’ views if the Union took a position in favour or against the strikes.
As your student representatives, the KCLSU student officer team will still continue to work to ensure the university truly understands the impact of the industrial action for all of you.
Additionally, each officer will be offering support to students via a number of means e.g. supporting students to better understand the situation and teach outs.
Although the university remains open, 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
On Thursday 24 November, Shagun Bhandari, VP Education (Postgraduate) and Tej Nag, VP Activities and Development will be available throughout the day in The Shack, for students to meet and discuss the strikes and the impact on learning and experience as well as answer any questions and concerns. Keep an eye out for their stall.
We’ve also prepared a quick guide – see below - with everything you need to know as a student at King’s, as well as relevant resources and information.
For further information from King’s on the industrial action click here
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 3 days in November, together with the continuing action short of strike (ASOS) until April 2023.
The full strike dates are:
- Wednesday 24 November
- Thursday 25 November
- Wednesday 30 November
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.
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.The student officer team’s main priority is to support students as best as they can during this time and ensure that students’ needs and best interests are put first.
Historically KCLSU has fully supported strike action, most recently in 2019. Last year’s KCLSU Officer team took the stance not to support the strikes, following a student vote which saw hundreds of students vote for KCLSU not to support the strikes.
The current officer team have decided as a team to take a neutral position, to allow each individual officer to remain true to their individual position, which reflects the differing and opposing views among the student body. This also allows the team to focus efforts on tangible action to support students and student activism through study sessions, facilitate complaints and hold teach outs.
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 submit your complaint via the university’s specific webform which you will need to complete to raise a formal complaint about industrial action. This form will only be available after the period of industrial action. Students may also wish to claim for travel costs incurred when teaching was cancelled but you were not notified in time by your department. To do so you will need to provide evidence/receipt for those travel costs with the form when you submit it.
King’s have advised that students submit complaints after industrial action has taken place and within 3 months of the strike days to ensure that your complaint will be processed.
Details on dates for submission of complaints:
- Unison Strike Action 27 – 29 September 2022 - submit your complaint by Friday 13 January 2023.
- UCU Strike Action 24 - 25 November 2022 and 30 November 2022 & Unison Strike Action 24 - 25 November 2022 - submit your complaint by Tuesday 28 February 2023.
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.
The KCLSU 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. You should attend as scheduled, and the normal processes for attendance monitoring will apply to undisrupted sessions.’
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 assessment is still being affected, the university recommend that you contact your department in the first instance, and they will support you in submitting anMC form, if applicable.
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.