UCU industrial action - autumn 2021
The University & College Union (UCU), a trade union that represents some of our academic and professional services staff, has given formal notice of strike action from Wednesday 1 December to Friday 3 December. The UCU has also notified us that they will be undertaking Action Short of Strike from 1 December and finishing no later than 3 May 2022.
You can find out more about what strike and Action Short of Strike mean in the following information.
We understand that you may be concerned about the possible impact of this action on you, particularly given the disruption you have already faced due to COVID-19. We are committed to taking all reasonable steps to ensure that any disruption is kept to a minimum.
- Not all members of staff take part in industrial action, and some students will face little or no impact.
- There is a possibility your teaching activities could be cancelled with or without notice, but you should assume that your teaching is taking place on strike days unless you are told otherwise. We have seen in the past that most teaching goes ahead as normal.
- Schools will arrange to reschedule or provide opportunities to meet your learning objectives in the case of missed teaching and associated content/materials.
- We expect that the Support Centres, Library, cafes and other facilities on campus will remain open. You should attend any appointments with teams such as the Student Welfare Team, Counselling & Wellbeing, Disability Advisory Service, Careers etc as planned, unless you are notified in advance that these have been re-scheduled.
- Asynchronous online materials will continue to be available to support your learning.
- Although members of staff are not obliged to tell us in advance if they plan to take action, we are putting in place a number if measures outlined below to help minimise the impact you may face.
About the industrial action
What is the industrial action about?
The current industrial action forms part of a national dispute affecting more than 60 UK universities, not just the University of Reading. It arises out of an ongoing dispute between the UCU, a trade union of which some of our academic and professional services staff are members, and university employers about proposed reform to pension arrangements.
UCU members are exercising their lawful right to take industrial action, following a ballot of members.
What is strike action?
Strike action is when staff refuse to work for a defined period. At universities, this includes not doing any work-related activity, such as teaching students, marking coursework, attending meetings, sending emails related to work and carrying out administrative tasks. It also includes not preparing for work scheduled after the member returns from strike.
Striking staff may create a picket line by standing outside their workplace to tell people why they are taking part in industrial action and ask them not to cross the line.
What is Action Short of Strike (ASOS)?
Whereas full strike action involves not working entirely for a defined period, Action Short of Strike means continuing to work but not doing some activities.
The UCU has advised that it defines ASOS in this period of action to be working to contract - that means not doing any voluntary work outside their contractual duties.
What we are doing to support you and minimise disruption
Cancelled teaching session form
Please complete this short online form if your class or other teaching activity does not go ahead on a strike day.
Staff do not have to tell the University in advance if they plan to strike, so we will not know in advance what classes will be cancelled. Letting us know that your teaching did not take place helps us to ensure that lost teaching is made up or learning is provided in other ways.
Impact of Strike on Academic Performance
If you feel you have been academically disadvantaged as a result of industrial action, please complete this form.
This includes for postgraduate research students who are undertaking taught modules as part of your PhD Programme Specification.
Read detailed information about the impact of Strike on Academic Performance Process.
Making up for lost teaching
Any teaching that you miss during the strike action will be made up for in several ways. You can find more information about different ways this can be done in the FAQs below.
Compensation for travel
If you paid to travel to campus on a day of strike action and all your scheduled teaching that day was cancelled with no prior warning, please complete this 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. We recommend that you wait until the end of the current action (after 3 December) to submit one claim for multiple journeys, if required.
The closing date to submit a claim for costs incurred during the December 2021 industrial action is 15 December 2021.
Keeping you informed
We will keep you updated as further information becomes available. Please continue to check your University email account, the student app and Me@Reading regularly for the latest information.
Who to contact?
For factual information about what is happening please email StudentFirstResponse@reading.ac.uk If you want to know if a specific class will take place, please ask the member of staff due to teach it, but please remember staff do not have to tell you if they intend to participate in industrial action,.
If you are worried about the impact on your studies as a whole, you can also contact your Academic Tutor to discuss.
For independent and confidential advice, you can also contact the free advice service from RUSU Advice
Students with a disability or specific learning difficulties worried about the impact of strike action should talk to your lecturer or your Academic Tutor/supervisor as soon as possible so that we can understand your concern and identify what action needs to be taken.
Postgraduate research students affected by the strike action should speak with your School Director of Postgraduate Research Studies in the first instance, or the Graduate School.