UCL News


Dates announced for industrial action at UCL

22 November 2021

The national University and College Union (UCU) has announced plans for industrial action from 1 December, including strike and action short of strike, which may affect your studies.

UCL's Wilkins Building

The national University and College Union (UCU) has announced that industrial action will take place in a number of universities across the UK from 1 December to support a dispute about pay and pensions. At UCL, staff will be striking over pay with three days of strike action, alongside a period of continuous ‘action short of strike’ (ASOS). UCU has met all the legal requirements for calling lawful industrial action. Not all UCL staff are members of the union and not everyone will be impacted by the strike or ASOS. 

You can find out more about what this means for you below. 

When will the industrial action take place?  

  • Strike action will take place on Wednesday 1, Thursday 2 and Friday 3 December 2021  

  • Action short of strike is planned to run continuously, starting on 1 December and finishing no later than 22 May 2022 

What does strike action mean?  

Strike action is when staff refuse to work. At universities, this includes not doing any work-related activity, such as teaching students, marking coursework, attending meetings, sending emails related to work and carrying out administrative tasks. It also includes not preparing for work scheduled after the member returns from strike. 

Striking staff may create a picket line by standing outside their workplace to tell people why they are taking part in industrial action and ask them not to cross the line.  

What is action short of strike (ASOS)?  

Action short of strike is when staff take other action, such as limiting some work-related activities. UCU has confirmed that the planned action short of strike will consist of staff only working their contracted hours and duties and not volunteering to do more.  

What does this mean for me?  

It is difficult to predict the impact of this period of industrial action.   

On the three strike days your classes and lectures could be cancelled. You may also find that libraries, offices and support services are closed or not fully staffed and so opening times and services might change at short notice. When you are on campus, you may see picket lines made up of striking staff outside UCL buildings. They may be handing out information and they may ask you not to cross their picket line.  

Striking staff on picket lines are not allowed to prevent students, or any staff who are not taking part in the strike, from coming onto campus or entering any UCL buildings.   

How can you find out whether your classes are affected? 

Striking staff do not have to tell UCL in advance of their intention to strike, but your department will try to inform you about changes to the teaching schedule through the usual channels, i.e. email and Moodle. 

Throughout the period of action, you should: 

  • Keep a close eye on your UCL emails and look out for Moodle page announcements.  

  • Stay informed by following the links in this update and looking out for announcements in the media. 

What support is available if I miss out on teaching due to staff taking part in industrial action?  

UCL will try to minimise the disruption to your learning as much as possible. We will share more information about what additional support is available to students affected by the industrial action in early December.  

Further information and support 

UCL is committed to supporting students during this period, with a range of services available. A more detailed list of FAQs can be found on the UCL Students website. 

Please contact student-industrialaction@ucl.ac.uk if you have further questions that cannot be answered by your department. 

If you are worried about the impact industrial action might have on your mental health and wellbeing, UCL's Support and Wellbeing team provides a safe, confidential and non-judgemental space for you to discuss any issues that concern or affect you.  

To find out more and get in touch, please visit the Support and Wellbeing webpages, contact us through askUCL or call +44 (0)20 7679 0100. 

You can also find out what Students’ Union UCL is doing to support students during this period of industrial action on their website