These pages provide further information for students about the University & College Union’s (UCU) participation in industrial action in 2019/20.
The current notified periods of action are:
Action short of strike (ASOS):
- commencing from 25 November 2019 and finishing no later than 29 April 2020.
We will continue to keep you updated by email and through the Me@Reading student portal so please check regularly for the latest information.
FAQs for students regarding the UCU Industrial action 2019/20.
Why is UCU undertaking industrial action?
The University and College Union (UCU) represents over 120,000 members of staff in universities, colleges, prisons, adult education and training organisations across the UK.
UCU is undertaking industrial action in relation to two national disputes. The first of these relates to pay. Discussions around university pay are managed through the annual National Pay Bargaining process. A Joint Negotiating Committee for Higher Education Staff (JNCHES), with representation from both employers and trade unions, facilitates the negotiations and any disputes arising from this. The bargaining process for 2018/19 is now closed, but the UCU did not accept the outcome.
The second dispute is related to ongoing discussions in respect of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), the main pension scheme for UK university staff.
These matters affect universities across the UK, and the substantive issues on pay and pensions can only be resolved through collective negotiations at a national level.
Please see more information on specific ballot issues.
How many staff will be undertaking industrial action?
Out of the approximately 700 UCU members eligible to vote, just under 300 voted in favour of industrial action. To put this into context, around 4,300 people work at the University. Furthermore, it is unlikely that all UCU members will participate in this industrial action and, as we have seen in the past, impact will vary across Schools, Departments and Functions.
What will happen on strike days?
This will vary depending on what action is being taken by individual staff in your School. You should attend all your scheduled classes unless you have been advised otherwise, in addition to completing and submitting assessments and preparing for exams as normal. If teaching does not take place, please help us to keep track and support you by letting us know by using the online form.
There may be picket lines at the major University entrances on strike days. This may involve small groups of staff with banners and placards speaking to people about the dispute and handing out information about the strike.
Previous pickets have been conducted in a peaceful way and been properly supervised by the UCU. We are all part of the University community and we are confident that everyone will remain respectful throughout the dispute, even if the opinions of individuals differ.
Can I claim back costs if I travelled to campus for classes that did not take place?
If you paid to travel to campus and all your scheduled teaching that day was cancelled with no prior warning, we have set up a form where you can submit a claim to be reimbursed for these travel costs.
We will ask to see evidence of the costs incurred, or details of mileage where applicable with information about your journey, and each application will be considered on an individual basis. We recommend that you wait until the end of the current action to submit one claim for multiple journeys, if required.
Access the form here.