On behalf of the Students’ Union, I would like to wish you all a happy New Year and the very best in your studies for 2023 and beyond.
I know there have been a lot of challenges happening in the previous year, with the industrial strike actions from across the different sectors and the Cost of Living crisis, having an impact on everyone. There will always be challenges in our lives, but it all depends on us to persevere through these challenges and not to give up.
London Metropolitan University Students’ Union is always here for you.
I know many students may be worried about their studies being affected by the strike action of the University and Colleges Union (UCU). I, and the rest of the officer team, would like to reassure you that the university is doing its best to minimise any disruption to your teaching and learning experience.
The Students’ Union will be open throughout the strike action and student leaders can still run any of their planned activities or plan activities to take place.
We wanted to give you an explanation of the strike action currently planned, and what we think the impacts of that action might be.
Why and When Is Strike Action Happening?
This strike action is happening at 150 Universities across the UK relating to pensions and pay and conditions. At London Metropolitan University the action is specific only to pay and conditions.
This strike action is happening following a ballot of UCU members across the country, more than 50% of members voted in the ballot with a majority of votes cast in favour of industrial action.
The full dates of strike action are:
Week 1 - Wednesday 1 February
Week 2 - Thursday 9 and Friday 10 February
Week 3 - Tuesday 14, Wednesday 15 and Thursday 16 February
Week 4 - Tuesday 21, Wednesday 22 and Thursday 23 February
Week 5 - Monday 27 and Tuesday 28 February and Wednesday 1 and Thursday 2 March
[No action week commencing Monday 6 March]
Week 6 - Thursday 16 and Friday 17 March
Week 7 - Monday 20, Tuesday 21 and Wednesday 22 March
There is also the potential for a marking and assessment boycott to take place from April if a deal is not made to bring the industrial action to an end.
How Will This Impact Me?
It’s hard to say as not every University staff member is a member of UCU, and staff do not have to tell the University if they will be taking action in advance of the strike.
This industrial action could mean that your classes or lectures are cancelled or that labs and spaces are closed or have limited availability. You may also find that offices and student support services are not fully staffed on strike days.
You may see a picket line of UCU members outside some University buildings. Staff may ask you not to cross their picket line, but they are not allowed to prevent you from entering buildings.
The University’s best guess is that disruption from the strike will be limited. You should attend any scheduled class or session in your timetable unless you are informed otherwise.
What Are My Rights?
The Office for Students (OfS) states that all students have a contractual relationship with their university, which means they are protected by consumer protection law. OfS is clear that universities must continue to offer the service they have promised to students, even during periods of industrial action.
Therefore it’s reasonable to expect that London Metropolitan University will make every effort to make up for lost learning.
OfS says that students may expect their university to do the following:
The University should be proactive in resolving issues related to missed teaching. If teaching time is lost, it may be appropriate for catch-up teaching to be offered at a later time, missed course content to be delivered in a different way, or for partial refunds to be offered to affected students.
The University should consider the needs of all students in responding to industrial action, particularly those who may be more affected than others, or may have difficulties accessing replacement learning.
What Do I Do If I Want To Make A Complaint About The Strikes?
If you feel like your learning has been affected by the strike action, and that the alternatives which the University have put in place haven’t been a suitable replacement, then you should contact the Students’ Union’s Advice Service for support and guidance on how to make a complaint.
We have a guide for our complaint support available at https://www.londonmetsu.org.uk/adviceservice/adviceandguidance/complaints/
To contact The Advice Service, please either email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or use our contact form.
Denise Morrison (LMSU President)