As you may be aware University of Kent and University of Greenwich staff have voted on industrial action which will commence on Monday 24 February (University of Kent) and Tuesday 25 February (University of Greenwich). The strikes will run over a period of 4 weeks, to view the exact dates for your university please view here.
Information on your home Student Union response to the industrial action can be found via the Kent Union website here and the Greenwich Student Union website here. The University of Kent has information you can view here and we are expecting the Universtiy of Greenwich to update their webpages shortly.
In relation to academic concerns the universities should be making sure that no students are assessed on material that has not been taught due to the industrial action and we would expect that there should be no need for students to raise extenuating circumstances solely regarding the industrial action as your university should make sure that no impact is felt on your marks.
In relation to compensation normally no tuition fee refunds will be considered as tuition fees relate to your education at your university as a whole, including other services and facilities that you receive and access rather than individual teaching sessions.
However the University of Kent have agreed to reimburse additional costs like travel costs and child care expenses if you try to attend classes that are cancelled. If you feel that this applies to you then please visit here for further details. Currently we are not aware of any similar direct compensation scheme that the University of Greenwich will be offering automatically.
If you feel that the above measures are not sufficient in your particular case then we would suggest two main areas for you to consider:
- Extenuating Circumstances: If you feel your academic work is going to be affected more significantly by the industrial action than the safeguards implemented then you could lodge concessions. Information on this process can be seen here for University of Kent and here for University of Greenwich (for taught awards). Evidence of the impact on your studies will be required to support an application so we strongly advise that you keep a record of what has been affected by the industrial action so when you lodge your claim you can use this as evidence and to further explain why your particular situation may require extra consideration. If you would like to receive our guide on concessions please contact us.
- Formal Complaint: If you feel that the refusal to refund tuition fee costs is unfair or that any reimbursement scheme does not fully cover your costs then you could consider making a formal complaint to the University of Kent here or University of Greenwich here.
If you are considering lodging a formal complaint we would advise you to raise your concerns with your School/Department informally first as this is a requirement of the formal complaints process and will help you to further prove your case if taking the more formal route.
Our main guidance is for all students to keep a log of any cancelled lectures, any negative impacts, and any expenses occurred as a result of cancelled lectures. We are advising students who are considering a formal complaint to wait until the strike action has ceased (this may not be until the summer if extra dates are added) as then you will be able to show the total impact on you.
You may also want to speak to your Course Rep if the issue is affecting a range of students as a joint complaint via these channels may be another option to consider.
Please be aware that the universities have clauses in their terms and conditions which stipulate that they are not responsible for certain events beyond their control with a strike listed as one of those events. You can find the Terms and Conditions on the University of Kent website here especially paragraph 17(a) and the University of Greenwich here especially paragraph 21 which mention about industrial action.
However, the universities do have a duty to keep students informed and to minimise the disruption as much as possible and you can find more information about the University’s obligation to you as a student under consumer law here.
The Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA) has given some examples of its rulings on complaints that have been made to them here (you normally have to go through the university complaints process first and receive an completion of procedures letter before going to the OIA) so we would advise you to read through these to understand the types of claims that may or may not be considered. They have also provided some good guidance on complaints regarding industrial action here along with the Office for Students giving their own guidance here. The National Union of Students (NUS) also have their own guidance here. If you would like to receive our guide on making a formal complaint to the university please contact us.
Please be aware that the university is not always informed by staff in advance that they are taking strike action so they may not be able to provide advance notification of any disruptions. Our advice currently is that we would encourage you to engage in the university’s internal procedures if unhappy with the impact the industrial action has had on your education as we feel this will give you the best chance of getting your concerns addressed and will enable the option of raising those concerns to the OIA if required.
The aim of this page is to help clarify the current position and give students information to make an informed choice.