What is happening?
UCU (The University and College Union) have announced further industrial action in 2023. This industrial action will include strike and action short of a strike. You can find out more about what these terms mean here.
Some of you may be affected by the strike action. Because not all University of Brighton staff are members of UCU, not all students will be affected.
The University has published some information about the strikes which you can see here.
Strike action is planned to take place on the following dates across 8 weeks:
Week 1 - Wednesday 1 February,
Week 2 - Thursday 9 February, Friday 10 February,
Week 3 - Tuesday 14 February, Wednesday 15 February, Thursday 16 February,
Week 4 - Tuesday 21 February, Wednesday 22 February, Thursday 23 February,
Week 5 - Monday 27 February, Tuesday 28 February, Wednesday 1 March, Thursday 2 March,
Week 6 - No action taking place.
Week 7 - Thursday 16 March, Friday 17 March,
Week 8 - Monday 20 March, Tuesday 21 March, and Wednesday 22 March 2023.
On strike days, some Brighton staff will join others across the country and not deliver their teaching or provide student support. This means that some academic courses will be impacted as well as other University services.
Here you can find out more about the background to the industrial action and what to do if you are affected.
how to prepare for strike days
- Ask your lecturer if they intend to take part, so you can plan for this (but note they are under no obligation to tell you)
- Keep all your receipts; this is important if you arrive at a lecture or seminar and find it has been cancelled. Keep a record of all the costs you incur during the strike action.
- Keep a log of how you are affected.
- Still submit your work - if you have a deadline you must still submit your work unless you are told otherwise.
- Meet with your lecturer after the strike is finished to discuss any areas you need to catch up on.
- Don't panic - there is lots of advice and support available to you.
REMEMBER: You can use our Disruption Diary to keep a record of how you are affected.
What is industrial action?
Industrial action is when members of a trade union take action against their employer. This is often as a result of failed negotiations concerning pay or conditions. A strike is when workers cease working or providing the services they are paid for. Workers do not get paid whilst they are on strike.
Who are UCU?
UCU (The University and College Union) are the largest teaching union for universities across the UK.
What is the strike about?
UCU balloted their members and the result of this ballot has meant they are taking industrial action around pay, working conditions and pensions. This is a country-wide dispute meaning that students at many different universities could be affected. You can find out more about the background to the dispute on UCU's website.
What will happen on strike days?
Strike days will impact students in different ways and many will not be affected at all. There will be more disruption in some Schools than others due to a greater number of staff there being members of UCU and choosing to go on strike.
If lecturers in your School are taking part, it may mean that lectures or seminars you have scheduled on those days do not take place.
Non-academic staff, such as those that work University support services, can go on strike also, so you may find changes to those services on the strike days.
You may not know in advance which staff are intending to strike, so some of your classes or services may be cancelled at short notice.
If your teaching session is cancelled because of strike action, this will not affect your attendance record.
how will students be affected?
Industrial action aims to disrupt service leading to student dissatisfaction. Institutions rely on student satisfaction to operate effectively. UCU hopes that strike action will lead to key decision makers making changes to pay and working conditions.
Some students will be affected during the strikes, as they will not receive their normal level of service. This might include being unable to access services, not having work marked and not being able to attend teaching sessions.
Staff may be present on 'picket lines' on campus, This means creating a boundary of people outside University buildings protesting about the issues and encouraging others to join the strike action.
what is 'action short of a strike'?
'Action short of a strike' (ASOS) is where staff refuse to complete tasks outside of their contractual working hours, or undertake tasks not specifically included in their contracts. Examples might include:
- Taking part in an assessment and marking boycott (i.e. not marking students' work in the evenings)
- Not supporting events and activities
- Not covering for colleagues that are absent or striking.
If staff are taking part in ASOS, you may find that normal service is disrupted, i.e. it may take longer for your lecturer to return your marked assignments.
can i still message my lecturer?
Yes of course, please continue to communicate with your lecturer as you usually would. But just bear in mind they might take longer to get back to you than usual.
will bsu buildings be open on strike days?
Yes - all our spaces will be open on all campuses. We appreciate the strike period might be difficult for some of you so please do come and see us.
what is bsu's position on the strikes?
Your full-time officer team are committed to ensuring that all students feel supported during this period of industrial action. We are here to provide help, advice and guidance to all of you during this time.
If you are worried about the effects of the strike action on your studies or final marks, you should contact your Course Leader in the first instance. If you remain dissatisfied, you can use the university’s Student Complaint Resolution Procedure to start your complaint. To do this use the informal stage (stage 1). Once you have completed stage 1, if you remain unhappy you can talk to us about raising a stage 2 complaint. Book an appointment with us as soon as you’ve received the stage 1 outcome.
When thinking about making a complaint, guidance suggests that students should consider the impact of the strike action in relation to their learning outcomes, as well as missed teaching sessions or classes. To help you complain, we have prepared a complaint template for you. Use this to claim compensation for lost learning/teaching.
Remember to use our Disruption Diary to keep a record of how the strike impacts you.
will i be assessed on material that i have missed due to the strike?
All Academic Schools have a responsibility for mitigating against the impact of the strikes. They may do this by removing the missed content from your assessments, or providing the material to you in different ways. You should speak with your School about how they plan to do this.
The University must ensure you are not disadvantaged due to missed learning and that your learning outcomes are delivered, but they do not have to offer you a like for like replacement.
CAN I COMPLAIN AND GET A REFUND?
We want the university to put plans in place to mitigate against the effects of the strike action. This means ensuring that any missed teaching or learning is dealt with appropriately. At the time of writing, we are waiting for the University to notify us of their plans to achieve this. Watch this space.
However, you should note the University is not required to replace learning ‘like for like’ - this means that cancelled lectures or seminars may not simply be rescheduled. You may be provided with alternative methods of teaching, or the University may change the course so students are not assessed on elements they have missed.
Inevitably, some students will be more affected than others. You can make a complaint if you feel that your learning has been disrupted. It is best to do this after the industrial action concludes, as it will be easier to determine the effects of the strike action and therefore address all your concerns at once.
If you wish to complain about the cancellation of teaching due to UCUs Industrial Action, please ensure that you provide complete details of the sessions (module name and code) cancelled together with dates and time of the cancelled session. Your complaint can include meetings with tutors where the meeting related to teaching, such as supervision of your dissertation.
Providing as much information as possible will help to process your complaint more quickly. Contact your School Complaints Officer via your School Office to raise your stage 1 complaint.
When thinking about making a complaint, guidance suggests that students should consider the impact of the strike action in relation to their learning outcomes, as well as missed teaching sessions or classes. To help you complain, we have prepared a complaint template or you. Use this to claim compensation for lost learning/teaching.
Got a question we haven't covered here? Please email BSUSupport@brighton.ac.uk and we'll add it.