University strikes: What you need to know

The University and College Union (UCU), who have a Portsmouth branch, will hold national strike days but what does that mean for you?

  • Posted Wed, Feb 1, 2023 12:00 PM

So, you've seen all the talk about strikes and you're wondering what that means for you and how it might impact your studies?

Here's some information to help you understand the strike action happening over the coming weeks. 

What does it all mean?

A strike takes place when members of a trade union collectively come together to raise awareness of working conditions, taking time away from working and giving up their pay for that period of time. The University and College Union (UCU) announced strikes over pay and working conditions for the UK university academic and support staff that it represents.

When are the national strike days?

  • Wednesday 1st February – one day
  • Thursday 9th February and Friday 10th February – two days
  • Tuesday 14th February, Wednesday 15th February and Thursday 16th February – three days
  • Tuesday 21st February, Wednesday 22nd February and Thursday 23rd February – three days
  • Monday 27th February, Tuesday 28th February, Wednesday 1st March and Thursday 2nd March – four days
  • Thursday 16th March and Friday 17th March – two days
  • Monday 20th March, Tuesday 21st March and Wednesday 22nd March – three days

The UCU is also continuing Action Short of a Strike (ASOS) which started towards the end of 2022

Who's actually striking?

You might have heard the word 'Union' and wondered if it's UPSU that are striking. The Students' Union (UPSU) are impartial and remain neutral. Student Council have met and discussed the national action and we continue to work with the University of Portsmouth to keep you updated and better understand the impacts it might have on you. The Union will remain open with services unaffected during the strike days. 

Those going on strike don't have to tell UoP, but the University will be asking staff beforehand to make sure that student timetabling remains as unaffected as possible:

'As part of our planning, we will be contacting all academic staff to ask whether they intend to strike so that contingency plans can be put in place. However, we acknowledge that union members do not need to tell their employer whether they intend to strike.' 

What does all this mean for you?

The priorities of the University are to make sure that any disruption to teaching and other timetabled activities are kept to a minimum and that provisions are put in place for affected students. The main focus of UoP will be minimising any impact on students and they will be working to put alternative arrangements in place for any changes on the three strike days. 

Cancelled timetabled sessions won't be treated as an unauthorised absence but you'll need to register your attendance at all other timetabled sessions as normal. You can apply for extenuating circumstances if strike action means you can't attend, complete or submit an assessment.

How can you get support?

We appreciate that strikes will cause some uncertainty and we're here to provide students with as much information as possible as soon as we can. More information on courses at Portsmouth that may affected by these national strikes will hopefully be available soon but if you're concerned about the strikes or you have any questions, you can contact your MyPort Hub (University buildings and student support services will remain open on strike days as normal).

Jargon Buster

  • Going on strike/Striking. Going on strike means that workers refuse to work for their employer, not completing any work during the pre-agreed strike days. 
  • Industrial Action. Industrial action is temporary, collective action that staff can take to show they are dissatisfied with their employers’ decision-making over issues that affect them, if negotiations over these issues have failed. 
  • Trade Union. An organised association of workers formed to protect and further their rights and interests.
  • Action Short Of Strike (ASOS). This is where workers take action such as working to rule, go slows, overtime bans or callout bans rather than stopping work altogether.

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