UCU Strikes: Three FAQs

Tuesday 20-02-2018 - 15:48

The University and Colleges Union (UCU) has announced strike action commencing on Thursday the 22nd of February. You can find all of the proposed strike dates on the UCU website.

Birkbeck Students’ Union has voted in support of the proposed UCU strike action, and believes that it is in the long-term interest of students (for more information see our statement). Here we hope to answer three of the most commonly asked questions about the UCU strikes, their impact, and how you can get involved.

“How can I show my support for the strike?”

Students are welcome to join us alongside striking academics at the picket lines outside Birkbeck buildings. The Students’ Union will also be attending the Student Bloc on the 28th February at the UCU March for Pensions and Pay in a demonstration of solidarity.

You can also help out by doing small, simple things: like making some hot drinks or sandwiches for staff on strike, or being careful not to cross picket lines on strike days.

UCU have listed a few things on their website that students can do to help the strike.

“I need academic support. How can I ensure that I get this whilst staff are on strike?”

We are currently in the process of facilitating study groups so students are able to support each other during this period. If you are willing to tell us the name of your course, and the modules you are taking, we will endeavour to put you in touch with others studying the same/similar topics.

Our Student Advisor, Simon, will be present during the strikes for any support you may need beyond your course. You may also contact the university’s counselling service.

“Can I get my money back?”

We recognise that as a result of the strikes, students may not receive the face-to-face tuition that they paid for.

So far the University has not announced any intention to reimburse students for lost teaching time, therefore the UCU campaign is likely designed to put pressure on the relevant BBK University officials to return to the negotiation table with UCU. However, we are currently in negotiations with college officials to investigate whether repayment can be achieved.

A Birkbeck student has set up an online petition requesting for compensation, signing this and showing student support would be beneficial in these negotiations.

Birkbeck Students’ Union believes it is important that an emphasis is placed on returning to negotiations, rather than expressing annoyance at striking members of staff - we do not wish to encourage a narrative that suggests students do not recognise our staffs’ concerns.

You can also raise how the strike has impacted you and request compensation through the college’s complaints policy and procedure, provided your submission is within 6 weeks of the strikes ending.

For any course specific information please contact your department administrator.More information on the UCU strike can be found on MyBirkbeck.

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