Industrial Action: Information for Students

The University & College Union (UCU) have called for industrial action at 60 UK Universities including Glasgow.

Strike action will take place on the following dates:

  • Monday 25 November - Friday 29 November
  • Monday 2 December - Wednesday 4 December 

This will be followed by a period of 'working to contract' (e.g. declining voluntary tasks) from 25 November 2019 -29 April 2020.

See the joint statement agreed between the University and UCU Glasgow.

If you have any questions not answered below, you can contact industrial-action-questions@glasgow.ac.uk for further advice.

About the industrial action

Why is the industrial action happening?

The University & College Union (UCU) have called the industrial action because its members are unhappy about:

  • The 2019 pay settlement for staff and concerns over casualisation, equality and workloads
  • A recent increase in the contribution employees make towards their pensions

The 2019 pay settlement from August 2019 involved an uplift of 1.8% (in line with CPI – the main inflation index); the UCU called for an uplift of at least 6%.

On pensions, the Universities Superannuation Scheme board (which looks after pensions for academic staff across more than 60 institutions) increased employer contributions by 1.6% and employee contributions by 0.8%; the UCU argued that staff should not have to pay the 0.8% increase.


Will the University campus be open on strike days?

Yes, the campus – including all learning, social and sports facilities – will remain open throughout the strike. There may be a picket line at one or more of the entrances, but students and staff will not be prevented from freely entering and leaving the campuses.


Should I still attend University during the strike?

You will be expected to attend classes as normal unless specifically advised not to do so by your School or Research Institute.


What will it look and feel like on strike days?

On strike days some members of staff will choose not to come to work which may result in some teaching activity being cancelled. It may also mean that you are not able to contact striking staff members until they have returned to work.

Some staff on strike may form a picket line by standing outside University buildings and explaining to people why they are on strike. They aim to persuade fellow union members not to cross the picket line so that as many members as possible take strike action.

Anyone wishing to cross a picket line must be allowed to do so, and pickets should be carried out peacefully, without blocking entrances.


What is a picket line?

Some staff on strike may form a picket line by standing outside University buildings and explaining to people why they are on strike. They aim to persuade fellow union members not to cross the picket line so that as many members as possible take strike action.

Anyone wishing to cross a picket line must be allowed to do so, and pickets should be carried out peacefully, without blocking entrances.


What if I choose not to cross a picket line?

Everyone is entitled to cross a picket line, but we recognise that some students may choose not to. Please be aware that if you do choose not to cross a picket line, you may be assessed on any material covered during teaching you missed. Staff are not expected to provide additional teaching resources for students who choose not to attend teaching on strike days.


How long will the strike action last?

The UCU has called on its members to go on strike from Monday 25 November - Friday 29 November and Monday 2 December - 4 December 2019. The union has also asked its members ‘to work to contract’ (for example, declining to undertake voluntary tasks) from 25 November until 29 April 2020. It is possible that further action may take place in the coming weeks and if that is the case we will take every possible measure to minimise disruption.


Teaching and Assessment

How will I know if my classes are cancelled?

Staff who are taking industrial action will be encouraged to let students know, but they are not obliged to do so. Where Schools/Research Institutes know that a class is not taking place, advance notice will be given to students if possible.

Check your University email regularly throughout the strike period.


Will cancelled classes be rescheduled?

Priority will be given to rescheduling classes if there is an opportunity to do so before the scheduled end of course assessment. In considering the possibility of rescheduling classes, consideration will be given to:

  • the timing of the end of course assessment, with those scheduled for the April/May examination diet more likely to allow rescheduling during Semester 2; and
  • the feasibility of providing alternative learning opportunities to students such as directed study, Moodle materials, use of reading lists etc.

Will the strike affect my exams?

You will not be assessed on any material that has not been covered through adequate learning opportunities. Staff will make an academic judgement as to whether adequate learning opportunities have been provided, by means of taught classes or alternative learning opportunities, such as directed study, Moodle materials, use of annotated reading lists, etc.

Where staff judge that adequate learning opportunities have not been provided in relation to a part of the curriculum, students will be advised and will not be assessed on that material. Students will be treated fairly.


Will the strike affect coursework hand-in deadlines?

Colleagues have been advised that flexibility should be applied in cases where students do not adhere to submission dates falling within the period of industrial action. 

Submission dates for coursework assignments following the industrial action will be extended where learning opportunities have been disrupted, as it may be necessary to alter the content of the assignment, or to provide additional time to catch up on re-scheduled or alternative learning opportunities. Students will be advised on this by their School or Research Institute.


Will the strike affect marking, results and the return of coursework?

The main December exam diet begins after the strike period. However, some assessments will have already taken place or been scheduled up to and including the period of strike action. It is possible that marking, the return of coursework and the publication of results may be affected by the strike. Schools and Research Institutes will let students know about any delays as soon as they are known.


Should I submit a good cause claim if I am affected by strike action?

Good cause claims relate to adverse circumstances that impact on your ability to complete your assessment. It is not anticipated that the strike action would result in such claims because you will not be assessed on any material that has not been adequately covered. Staff will make an academic judgement as to whether adequate learning opportunities have been provided, by means of taught classes or alternative learning opportunities, such as directed study, Moodle materials, use of annotated reading lists etc.

Good cause does remain available in line with the University regulations. For more information see: 2019-20 Code of Assessment and the Good Cause FAQs.


I am an international student on a Tier 4 visa, will the strike affect my attendance?

No. If necessary, Schools/Research Institutes will have alternative arrangements in place to note students’ engagement with their studies.

If you have any questions, contact your School or Research Institute.


I am a Postgraduate Research student, how will the strike affect me?

It is possible that doctoral vivas scheduled during the period of strike action may be affected. Members of an examination committee intending to take action will be encouraged to advise any such candidates in advance. In the event that a viva is postponed, it will be rearranged as soon as possible.

Similarly, supervision meetings due to take place during the period of action may be affected. Staff will be encouraged to advise students of anticipated disruption.  The University expects that any missed supervisory meetings will be re-scheduled wherever possible.


Graduations

I am graduating in December, will the strike affect my ceremony?

The first three days of winter graduations fall within the strike period. The graduation ceremonies will go ahead as scheduled. 

There may be picket lines present on campus, but these should be peaceful and should not block entrances.


Tuition Fees and Finance

Can I claim financial compensation for the teaching time lost due to the strike?

We are confident that the strike will not prevent you from completing the academic year on time, and so we do not propose to offer compensation.


Further Information

Who can I contact for help and advice?

If you have any further questions about the strike action, you can send an email to industrial-action-questions@glasgow.ac.uk. You will also be able to access most of the usual student support services, such as Reach Out and the SRC Advice Centre, during the strike.


Can I still email my lecturer/supervisor/other teaching staff?

Yes, but there may be a delayed response if the person you are contacting is on strike. If you need urgent advice please also contact your School/Research Institute administration team.


How can I make a complaint about the strike?

Any complaints about strike action should be addressed to complaints@glasgow.ac.uk.

Further information on the complaints process is available at: glasgow.ac.uk/connect/complaints.