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Industrial action: FAQs for students

Information on the industrial action to be held from Monday 28 March to Friday 1 April. Updated 22 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 the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) pension scheme. 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 on their webpages and you can read about the position of Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) employers here. The SU has also published information on its web pages. The Office for Students (OfS) has published some guidance for any students who might be affected by industrial action, which you may find useful.

Following the strike action by UCU in December 2021 and February 2022, in relation to the same issue, this industrial action means some academic, academic-related and senior professional services staff members will not be working from Monday 28 March to Friday 1 April. 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 do let your department know if you have a particular accessibility need in terms of replacement materials.

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

What should I do now?

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

You can also turn to the Academic Skills Centre for generalised help with assignments.

If you are feeling particularly anxious, please make use of the support networks we have at the University, including the Students’ Union, Student Services, and Personal Tutors.

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 issue in this dispute relates to changes to the USS pension. This issue is negotiated nationally on behalf of all participating universities and we have been consistently advocating for an agreement. The package of reforms proposed by employers has now been approved and will be implemented from 1st April 2022. However, the Trade Union is still pushing for a different deal. Looking ahead, we are hopeful that, soon, all parties will agree on some principles for a more affordable and sustainable scheme for the future.

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 includes: 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 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 Student Services webpages.

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

Where can I get help or advice if I'm worried?

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.

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 (wellbeingservice@bath.ac.uk). 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, 7 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.

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 will happen to the pay of striking staff?

Staff who take strike action on an identified day of action will have one day’s pay (1/365th of their annual salary) deducted from their pay for each day of action.

Salary deductions for those who elect to take strike action will be re-invested, once any costs are taken into account, on wellbeing and mental health support.

How do I make a complaint?

The University is in the process of putting in place reasonable measures to minimise any potential disruption for students affected by the industrial action.

When this strike action is concluded and the department has had an opportunity to put in place any alternative or adjusted arrangements, if these measures have not addressed your concerns, please follow the Student Complaints Procedure.

Contact Us

Your Director of Studies can offer you academic advice about your specific academic circumstances. If you have a general query that is not course specific, please contact QueriesIndustrialAction@bath.ac.uk.