Disruption from Strike Action 



Last updated 22nd September 2023

This is our hub of information about UCU industrial action.





UCU Industrial Action  

Why are staff taking action? 

University staff across the UK who are members of the University and College Union (UCU) will be taking industrial action over the next few months, asking for improvements to be made to their pay and working conditions.

Strike action and marking and assessment boycotts are only taken as a last resort in an attempt to secure better conditions. They've been negotiating on these issues but aren't happy with the progress they've made so have decided to take industrial action as a way to get the University to listen to their requests. 

You can find out more about the campaign on UCU's website here: ucu.org.uk/rising


Strike Action Announcement

UCU members will be taking strike action on the following days:

  • Monday 25 September 2023
  • Tuesday 26 September 2023
  • Wednesday 27 September 2023
  • Thursday 28 September 2023 
  • Friday 29 September 2023 


What does this mean for students?

If your academics are UCU members and taking part in the strike you might turn up to a timetabled class and your lecturer is not there. 

You can find more information from the University of Greenwich about the strike and their plans to mitigate impact here - Strike information for students | Articles | University of Greenwich

If you have any concerns about the impact this may have on your academic progression, you can get in touch with our academic advice team via Advice (greenwichsu.co.uk)

If you would like to raise wider concerns around the action, please do not hesitate to get in touch with SU President Anuj Baral - A.Baral@greenwich.ac.uk

Greenwich Students’ Union will continue to update this page as we know more.

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Making a complaint 

If your wellbeing or health condition has been adversely and disproportionality affected because of the industrial action and you can evidence this you may be able to claim EC's.

Get in touch with our Advice team who can advise if your circumstances might be relevant. 

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Jargon busters

Here are some terms you may read and hear over the coming weeks, and what it all means!

UCU - Universities & Colleges Union. The trade union for higher education workers, including professional services staff, academics and postgraduate research students. Their Higher Education Committee, a group made up of representatives (or reps) elected by UCU to represent their Higher Education members, has launched both strike ballots.

UUK - stands for Universities’ UK, which is the representative body for universities across the UK. They are leading the negotiations with UCU about the amount employers and staff should pay into USS pensions.

CMA - Competition and Markets Authority. They are an independent non-ministerial department linked to the UK government. They're responsible for ensuring that consumers get a good deal when buying goods and services, and businesses operate within the law.

OfS - Office for Students. They are the independent regulator of higher education in England.

OIA or OIAHE - Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education, an independent body set up to review student complaints.

Casualisation - refers to academic staff being employed on ‘casual’ contracts, for example for a half-day of teaching per week, rather than on an annually-salaried basis.

Joint Negotiating Committee - this is where UCU and UUK meet to discuss pensions.

RPI - the Retail Price Index. this is a way of measuring inflation by charting the cost of a shopping basket of standard goods each year. Therefore, if someone’s wages are increasing ‘below RPI,’ the increase in their pay is not going up at the same rate as the cost of a weekly shop.

Picket - a picket is a person or group of people who stand outside a workplace or other venue as a protest or to try to persuade others not to enter during a strike.

Picket line - a picket line is a boundary established by workers on strike, especially at the entrance to the place of work, which others are asked not to cross.

SMT - SMT stands for Senior Management Team. They are the top management of a university. They may be referred to as SLT also (Senior Leadership Team).

Ballot - a system of voting anonymously and in writing on a particular issue.

Action short of a strike - where workers take action such as working to rule, go-slows, overtime bans or callout bans.

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General Enquiries / Advice 

If you have a question about the strikes, please email us at greenwichsu@gre.ac.uk.

If you would like advice on complaining about strike disruption contact our Advice Service. 

For press inquiries, please contact our Head of Marketing.

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Frequently asked questions

Staff and postgraduate students who are members of UCU may strike, which may affect everything from lecturers, tutorials, labs and assessments to other services across the University.

It is difficult to know how strike action will impact individual students, as it will differ from course to course and depending on your level of study. We expect some Faculties to be impacted more than others by the strike action. In the event of any strike action, the University should communicate with you via Faculties and departments about any disruption or other matters.

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You can talk to your tutors, lecturers and supervisors to find out more about why they are striking. If strike action takes place you can get involved in rallies, picket lines and writing letters to the University.

You can also talk to your Academic Reps who can raise your views and concerns to the University.

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Yes. The University campuses will remain open as normal with places such as the library, study spaces and sports facilities available for your use as usual. The Students’ Union will be open as usual too. You should be able to go into all buildings as you normally do, but there may be picket lines in place as part of the strike action. For questions regarding specific teaching facilities, please contact your Faculty.

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Individual lecturers/tutors etc. are under no obligation to disclose if they are going on strike. Unfortunately, we at GSU are unable to confirm which University staff will on strike or from what Faculty - we don't hold this information at all.

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At this stage it is unclear, it will become clearer once strike action is underway, but regardless, the University will be working to ensure your academic progress continues.

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Yes, you can contact staff as you would normally do. It is possible that there may be a delay in you receiving a response, especially if your enquiry is sent in the strike period and your lecturer/tutor is taking part in the strike action.

If you have an academic issue which requires urgent attention during the strike period and you are not sure if the member of staff is available, then please also contact your Faculty and they will be able to advise you.

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We are aware that this is an important concern for some students. We will keep you informed of any information we receive, along with information and advice from the Office for Students (OfS), Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA).

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We are working to provide students with the most up to date information from UCU and the University, so you know what is going on regarding the industrial action. We'll keep you updated regularly on our website and through social media. We will also be involved in meetings and discussions with the University to ensure mitigation measures are implemented for students impacted, and to raise any concerns that students have.

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Our Advice Centre can support you if you wish to make a formal complaint. Some students will be eligible for concessions or extensions, we will be able to talk to you about these options.

For International students, the University can advise on any concerns with impact to your visas. For more information, visit the University website.

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