UCL News


UCL teaching to be affected by industrial action this term

14 February 2018


Some UCL students may experience disruption to their classes due to industrial action this term. UCL is one of 61 universities across the UK that could be affected.

Several days of industrial action are planned by the University and College Union (UCU). UCU has called on its members to take action to support a dispute about proposed changes to the USS Pension Scheme, to which many staff who teach and support teaching belong. UCU has met all the legal requirements for calling a lawful strike.

When will the industrial action take place? 

The industrial action is taking place over 14 days, spread across a four-week period with an increasing number of days each week. The dates are as follows:

  • Week 1: Thursday 22 and Friday 23 February
  • Week 2: Monday 26, Tuesday 27 and Wednesday 28 February
  • Week 3: Monday 5, Tuesday 6, Wednesday 7 and Thursday 8 March
  • Week 4: Monday 12, Tuesday 13, Wednesday 14, Thursday 15 and Friday 16 March

Who is taking part?

We cannot predict which staff members will participate or to what extent. Staff who strike may choose not to commit to all 14 days. UCU represents staff across a variety of roles, so participants will be a mixture of academic staff and professional services staff. Not all UCL staff members are necessarily union members.

Staff who do not wish to strike may still decide that they do not want to ‘cross the picket line’ (i.e. attend their place of work). You will find that the actions and availability of staff who are striking varies from person to person.

Staff participating in the industrial action will have 100% of their pay withheld for any days when they are taking part. All deductions will be paid into the Student Hardship Fund.

What might this mean for you?

On days of industrial action, participating staff members will not enter their place of work nor conduct any work on that day. Industrial action by members of UCU could include cancelling classes or lectures, not undertaking voluntary duties and not covering for absent colleagues. You may also find that offices and student support services are not fully staffed on strike days. 

You may see a picket line made up of trade union members outside some UCL buildings. They may be handing out information or chanting slogans to catch people’s attention, and you are able to ask them questions about what they are doing. Staff are not allowed to prevent you from entering buildings.

How can you find out whether your classes are affected?

It is difficult to know whether your classes will be affected. Although we can ask your lecturers, they do not have to tell us in advance. However, we have asked Heads of Department to try to check which lectures will be going ahead and which will be cancelled. 

As far as possible 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. Staff members taking action are not required to give advance notice, so you should expect minimum notice of class cancellations. More warning may be given at the discretion of individual staff members. 
  • Stay informed by following the links in this update and looking out for announcements in the media.

What to do if your classes are affected 

The university is committed to ensuring that our students are not disadvantaged in their assessment and examinations by the action. If you wish to voice your concerns about the industrial action, or you have further questions, please contact srs@ucl.ac.uk.

The Students’ Union is in support of academic and non-academic staff and their right to take industrial action, and will provide guidance for students to manage the impact of the industrial action.

Useful links