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Industrial action: FAQs for students

Information on the industrial action to be held during February and March 2023. Updated 7 March 2023.

What's the latest update?

The University and College Union (UCU) announced on Tuesday 28 February that it's holding an additional day of strike action, on Wednesday 15 March.

On Friday 17 February it had announced that it was pausing its strike action at UK universities, while negotiations took place.

The strikes did not go ahead on:

  • Tuesday 21, Wednesday 22 and Thursday 23 February
  • Monday 27 and Tuesday 28 February, and Wednesday 1 and Thursday 2 March.

What is the industrial action about?

The University and College Union (UCU) for academic, academic-related and senior professional services staff is planning to take industrial action over pay, conditions and pensions at 150 universities across the UK. Industrial action can take the form of a strike (a concerted stoppage of work/refusal to work) or ‘action short of a strike’ (restricting the activities an employee will undertake, such as refusing to do overtime).

You can find more information about the UCU's position and you can read about the position of Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) employers. The SU has also published information on the staff action. The Office for Students (OfS) has published guidance for any students who might be affected by industrial action, which you may find useful.

This industrial action means some academic, academic-related and senior professional services staff members will not be working on the following dates:

  • Wednesday 1 February
  • Thursday 9 and Friday 10 February
  • Tuesday 14, Wednesday 15 and Thursday 16 February
  • Wednesday 15, Thursday 16 and Friday 17 March
  • Monday 20, Tuesday 21 and Wednesday 22 March.

They will also be 'picketing' (a form of protest where staff members congregate) at the entrances of the University; staff on picket lines might want to give you a leaflet or explain the reasons for the strike, but will do so in a peaceful manner. Staff have a legally protected right to strike and have followed strict rules in order for this strike to be legal.

What will the University do to minimise the impact on students?

We will do everything we can to mitigate the impact of this industrial action on your learning. We will be working closely with academic departments to identify and implement ways to support you - for example, some staff may upload papers, recorded lectures and links to online resources to cover the content missed. In previous industrial action some staff have also rescheduled missed lectures and/or extended coursework deadlines, where Semester dates have allowed, though this is at their discretion. Please let your department know if you have a particular accessibility need in terms of replacement materials.

We are closely monitoring our end of Semester 1 processes, including marking and the scheduled release of Semester 1 results. We will let you know if anything changes with regard to our normal timescales and provide details of where you can get support.

We hope to be working closely with the Students' Union to understand students' experience during this process, and to do everything we can to support students.

We will communicate with you (including updating this FAQ page where necessary) to make sure you are kept informed of any developments.

What should I do if I have work or an assessment to submit on a day when there is industrial action?

You should continue with your academic work, attend all scheduled classes or continue with your research activities, and prepare and submit assessments or vivas as normal. If you are especially worried about a particular assessment, please contact your Director of Studies or Head of Department.

Information for doctoral students who teach

If you need information on how the action may affect your teaching, please speak to the department that you work with. You can also read our guidance for staff.

Where can I get help and support?

You can contact the Academic Skills Centre for general help with assignments.

Your Director of Studies can offer you advice about your specific academic circumstances; if they are unavailable please contact your Head of Department. Doctoral students can also receive support from the Doctoral College.

How will this dispute be resolved?

We know that our staff are dedicated to their jobs and delivering an excellent education and experience to our students.

The issues in this dispute relate to pay, working conditions and changes to the USS pension. These issues are negotiated nationally on behalf of all participating universities and we have been consistently advocating for an agreement.

What if I incur extra costs due to the Industrial Action?

If you have incurred costs as a direct result of recent industrial action at the University, than you can make an application to the University of Bath Hardship Fund for financial assistance.

Examples of expenditure you may be able to receive assistance with include: travel costs, childcare costs, the cost of study materials, subsistence expenditure (food, drinks etc.) as well as any other reasonable costs you may have incurred as a result of industrial action. You should keep a written record and evidence of relevant expenditure.

Please note, you will be unable to claim either compensation or tuition fee refunds via the Hardship Fund.

The Hardship Fund is a discretionary sum of money provided by the University to assist students in financial difficulty, and though we will do our best to assist, no guarantee of an award can be made. You can download an application form and find further information about the University of Bath Hardship Fund through our Student Support webpages.

If you have any further questions, please contact Student Money Advice.

Where can I get advice if I'm worried?

If you are feeling particularly anxious, please make use of the support networks we have at the University.

The University’s Wellbeing Service is available seven days a week. You can book an appointment online or get in touch by phone (01225 383838) or email ( All the services are confidential.

Our Be Well - Talk Now service also provides free, confidential advice and support by phone, video call or live chat from anywhere in the world, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

The Advice & Support Centre at the Students’ Union offers independent advice on your academic circumstances and options, including on the complaints process, and provides a range of other support services.

You can also contact your Personal Tutor or Doctoral Supervisor for sources of support.

I am studying on a Student or Tier 4 visa – how might I be impacted?

The UK Government has confirmed that classes cancelled due to industrial action should not be treated as an unauthorised absence. Therefore, if your lecturer is on strike, this will not count as non-engagement.

Should the Student Immigration Service contact you regarding your lack of academic engagement for this period, you will be given the opportunity to explain that this was due to cancelled (online or/and in-person) study activities due to industrial action. In such instances, please be assured that you will not be penalised for non-engagement.

Can I claim reimbursement for any missed teaching?

We will work hard to take reasonable steps to minimise any potential disruption. We will continue to monitor the situation. Tuition fees also relate to your education as a whole, including the other services and facilities that you receive as a student, and not to individual teaching sessions. Therefore, the University is not planning any form of reduction in fees or compensation.

What if I have an additional query?

Sources of help and support are covered above but if you have a query not covered by this FAQ, you can contact