Information for students

Additional information for UCL students

University and College Union (UCU) has won two votes for strike action, and has announced that it will be calling a strike of university staff from the 25th November to the 4th December, and action short of strike following this. 

The strike is about two separate disputes; one about our pensions (some of you may recall we took strike action on this previously), and the second regarding pay, equality, casualization (e.g. short term contracts) and workloads.

The decision to go on strike is never taken lightly, every member of staff at UCL cares deeply about all of our students. However these two issues are fundamental for ensuring that we are able to maintain a high quality education and learning environment for you. 

The National Union of Students fully supports us. You can read the UCU-NUS Joint Statement here: https://www.ucu.org.uk/UCU-NUS-jointstatement

Link to the UCU announcement for further details: https://www.ucu.org.uk/article/10408/UCU-announces-eight-days-of-strikes-starting-this-month-at-60-universities

Scroll down for FAQs.

What can you do to help?

  • Let your module leaders, seminar leaders and university staff (e.g. in the library) know that you support them – it means a huge amount to us.
  • Ask questions – we’re all very happy to explain what the strike is about and why the issues are so important so don’t be afraid to engage with us about it.
  • Join us on the picket lines – look out for notices about teach-outs and learning events.
  • Write to the UCL President and Provost Michael Arthur Michael.Arthur@ucl.ac.uk to raise your concerns and ask him to support the Union’s demands.
  • Add your name to the open letter from UCL students to Michael Arthur


What is a union? 

A union is an organisation of workers who act as the legal representative to protect workers’ interests and negotiate with employers. This is often known as ‘collective bargaining’.

What is a strike?

Strikes are a form of legal industrial action. It involves members of a trade union choosing to withdraw their labour during a dispute, often when negotiations have stalled or a compromise solution has not been found. It is often considered a last resort. The ‘right to strike’ is internationally regarded as a basic human right.

Workers are not paid if they take part in strike action. 

What is a picket line?

When workers go on strike they will form what is called a ‘picket’ outside their place of work. This is to encourage other workers/building users to show solidarity with the strikers by refusing to cross into the workplace – for many, not crossing a ‘picket line’ is a point of principle. 

What is action short of strike?

This is when union members do not go on strike, but may be very strict about not doing any more than their contract (often called ‘working to contract’). This involves things like only working between 9 to 5, taking a lunch break every day, not covering for absent colleagues and refusing to reschedule lectures lost to strike action.

Will all of my lectures and seminars be cancelled during the strike period?

Not necessarily. Not all members of staff are union members. But if your lectures/seminars do run you may want to consider if you are willing to ‘cross the picket’.

The strikes could still be called off if negotiations resume in a positive way, or if a resolution is reached – so your message to the Provost could make all the difference!

How will I know which sessions are running?

Your department should notify you where possible. 

Will my classes by rescheduled?

No, because members will be undertaking action short of strike as well.

Will this affect my grade?

No. You will not be penalised for missing any content due to strike action. 

Will this affect my attendance?

No. You will not be penalised for missing any classes due to strike action, or for choosing not to cross a picket line.

Can I get my fees reimbursed for cancelled classes?

This is a question you can ask UCL President and Provost Michael Arthur Michael.Arthur@ucl.ac.uk