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, Jun 14, 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. A marking and assessment boycott is a form of Action Short of Strike (ASOS), where members of the union only work to contract, which means they do not work any overtime. Staff participating in the marking and assessment boycott will also withhold any marking duties.

When are the national strike days?

Strike dates have been ongoing since Thursday 20th April. We will keep you as up to date as possible but future strike dates may vary.

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. 

The University does not know how many staff will take part, for how long, or to what extent but they want to make sure that students remain as unaffected as possible:

'We have put in place several measures for the summer period to protect your progression to the next level of study or, if you are at the final stage of your course, your Graduation.'

At this stage it is too early to assess the potential impact but the priorities of the University are to make sure that any disruptions 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. 

The SU has worked with the university to create regulations to help minimise the impact of the boycott on your studies, and particularly allowing final year students to graduate without delay. You can apply for extenuating circumstances during the summer of 2023 as undelivered timetabled activities due to the industrial action is a valid criteria.

What's been put in place to help?

  • If the staff member who is supposed to mark your work is taking park in the boycott, an appropriate alternative member of staff will mark your woth with final year work being prioritised.
  • If this isn't possible, your marks will be estimated based on your previous work.
  • If your assessment is marked after a grade is estimated and the new grade is higher, you'll have that mark applied. 
  • If a mark can't be given or estimated, you'll still be able to progress to the next stage of your course and, if you're graduating, you'll be allowed to attend graduation with the rest of your course mates if you've met all other graduation attendance requirements. 

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 will hopefully be available soon but if you're concerned about the strikes or you have any questions, you can contact the UPSU Advice Service and you can also 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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