UCU Strike Advice

UCU Strikes: Advice for Birkbeck students

Birkbeck College will be affected by strike action on the following dates:

Monday 24, Tuesday 25 and Wednesday 26 February
Monday 2, Tuesday 3, Wednesday 4 and Thursday 5 March
Monday 9, Tuesday 10, Wednesday 11, Thursday 12 and Friday 13 March
Thursday 19 and Friday 20 March

You can read more about Birkbeck Students' Union's response to the strikes here. 

The below information is provided by BBKSU Advice Service, a source of free, confidential & impartial advice for all students at Birkbeck.

If you have been negatively impacted by the UCU strikes, you can submit a complaint to Birkbeck College. 

We're here to help you with this. 

Below is our guidance on how to prepare a complaint by gathering evidence of how the strikes have negatively impacted you.

Complaints about the strike can be submitted after Friday 20 March, the final day of the strike action. 

The College is not able to consider any complaints about the effect of the UCU strikes until after the strike action is finished. Complaints must be submitted within six weeks of the end of the strike.

What am I able to complain about?

The strikes have the potential to affect students in a number of ways. You can complain to the College about these effects, and you can request compensation for them.


The effect on your studies
The strikes are likely to affect your course. While not every academic will be on strike, it is not possible to accurately predict which courses or classes will be affected, as that is not known until each day of the strike.

Staff who are going on strike have been encouraged to tell their students in advance, but they are not required to do so.

  • Lectures, workshops and seminars may be cancelled, and not replaced.
  • Coursework may not be returned within the expected schedule
  • Feedback may not be given by academics during strike days, or could be significantly delayed
  • Academic staff may not be accessible on strike days
  • You may not know which staff are on strike until the morning of each strike day


The effect on your wellbeing
The strikes may also affect your wellbeing.

  • Disruption to your studies and coursework may negatively impact your wellbeing
  • You may not know if learning material that was missed due to strike action is going to be included in your exams or later assessments
  • If you are a student with specific support needs, your routine may be disproportionately impacted


The effect on your finances
The strikes may also affect you financially, which you can also mention in your complaint as a request for compensation.

  • Travel costs for wasted journeys
  • Disrupted childcare routines

Preparing a complaint

Your complaint should describe in detail how the strike action has affected you. The most effective way to convey this information is in the form of a diary, describing the impacts of the strike action for each day it takes place.

Your diary could include:

  • A full description of missed classes, including dates and times
  • An explanation of the impact of those missed classes on your education
  • A list of costs incurred, including transport and childcare, with supporting evidence (such as receipts) if possible)
  • A list of the impacts on your wellbeing and health. If you have medical evidence, this may be useful supporting evidence for a complaint.

The BBKSU Advice Service is here to provide you with the information you need if you are considering making a complaint to the College. 

Your complaint should include your preferred resolution. This can include a request for financial compensation. We suggest that complaints request compensation rather than 'refund'.

Submitting the complaint

Birkbeck College's complaints policy has three stages:

Stage One
Discuss your complaint informally with your department. Your module leader will be able to tell you how this can be done.

Stage One complaints may not be possible due to the strike action itself.

Stage Two
If a Stage One complaint is not possible, or not resolved to your satisfaction, you can submit your complaint formally to the College at studentcomplaints@bbk.ac.uk.

Stage Three
If you are not satisfied with the outcome of the Stage Two complaint, you can request a review of how the complaint was handled.

External complaint
If you are not satisfied with the outcome of a Stage Three complaint, you can submit a complaint to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA), the independent ombudsman for higher education in England & Wales.