Industrial Action

Industrial Action

 

Overview:

As you may be aware the 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.

 

Student Union Response:

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.

 

University Response:

The University of Kent has information you can view here and the University of Greenwich here.

 

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.

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.

If you have any concerns in this area you could speak to your School or Student Rep in the first instance.

 

Compensation:

No automatic tuition fee refunds are normally considered as the universities feel that 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.

 

Unhappy:

If you feel that the above measures are not sufficient in your particular case then we would suggest the following:

  1. Extenuating Circumstances:  If you feel your academic work has been affected more significantly by the industrial action than the safeguards implemented then you could lodge an extenuating circumstances application. Information on this process can be seen here for University of Kent (taught awards) and here for University of Greenwich (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.
  2. Academic Appeal:  If when you get your Board of Examiners/Progression and Award Board decision you feel the decision reached has been impacted by the industrial action you could consider an appeal.  You would have to meet certain grounds, you can view the University of Kent regulations here (taught awards) and University of Greenwich here (taught awards).  It is advisable that you raise extenuating circumstances (as above) rather than have to rely on an academic appeal (where possible).  
  3. Complaint:  If you are unhappy with your university's actions/inactions, the standard of teaching provided as a result of industrial action, or their refusal to offer compensation then you could consider making a 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 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 normally advise 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.

 

Additional Points:

  • 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.
  • The universities do have a duty to keep students informed and to minimise the disruption as much as possible.
  • The universities are 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.

 

Resource Points:

  • 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.
  • The OIA have also provided some good guidance on complaints regarding industrial action here.
  • The Office for Students give their own guidance here.
  • The National Union of Students (NUS) also have their own guidance here.

 

The aim of this page is to help clarify the current position and give students information to make an informed choice.