As you may be aware University of Kent staff have voted on industrial action which will commence on Monday 25 November 2019. University of Greenwich students should not be affected.
Information on the Student Union response to the industrial action can be found via the Kent Union website here and the University of Kent also has information for students here.
We suggest students read through these web pages to fully understand the impact of the strikes and the actions the university should be taking to minimise any disruption and to make up for lost learning opportunities.
In relation to academic concerns the university has stated in their FAQ’s that no students should be assessed on material that has not been taught due to the industrial action and that there should be no need for students to raise concessions solely regarding the industrial action as they will make sure that no impact is felt on your marks.
In relation to compensation the University of Kent has indicated that no tuition fee refunds will be considered as tuition fees relate to your education at the University of Kent as a whole, including other services and facilities that you receive and access rather than individual teaching sessions. However they have agreed to reimburse travel costs and child care expenses if you try to attend classes that are cancelled. They have indicated that the reimbursement scheme will launch on 5 December 2019 and remain open until 31 January 2020.
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:
- Concessions: 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 taught awards). Evidence of the impact on your studies will be required to support a concessions 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 concessions applied. 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 the reimbursement scheme does not fully cover your costs then you could consider making a formal complaint to the University as per here.
If deciding to lodge a formal complaint it would be important to try to provide evidence of the financial loss that you feel you have incurred and which the university is not reimbursing. Please be aware that the University has a clause in their terms and conditions which stipulates 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 website here especially paragraph 17(a) which mentions about industrial action.
However, the University has 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 and here along with the Office for Students giving 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.