How the industrial action may affect you

Industrial action can be disruptive and could affect different areas of our activity in a number of ways. This page contains information on what is likely to happen throughout this period.

The University and College Union (UCU) represents large numbers of university staff across the country. Following recent national ballots over Pensions and Pay & Conditions, our local branch at Kent is one of a number across the country who secured a mandate to take industrial action over both issues.  

The University and College Union (UCU) is taking national Action Short of a Strike (ASOS) from 1 December 2021. 

The national ASOS is taking the form of:

  • working to contracted hours and duties; 
  • not volunteering to do more; 
  • not covering for absent colleagues; 
  • not rescheduling missed classes; 
  • not providing materials relating to cancelled lectures.

The local marking and assessment boycott ended on Tuesday 5 April 2022.  

Marking and assessment of your work has been resumed as normal. Any marking that was not carried out due to the boycott will now be prioritised and we anticipate all of this will be completed by early May at the latest. 

What is industrial action?

Industrial action is when employees go on strike or take other action to withhold aspects of their labour. Union members have the right to do this if they secure a positive mandate with more than 50% of their membership voting in a formal ballot.

What is 'Action Short of a Strike'?

ASOS involves workers withholding aspects of their labour, but not going on strike.

How will I find out if the ASOS will affect me?

UCU members are under no obligation to let us know if they are taking part in industrial action. While we will make every effort to update you on any impact in your area, this means that we won't always be able to let you know ahead of any disruption. Check Moodle, your email and any online working groups you are in for updates which we will share wherever possible. 

Managing disruption to studies

The University of Kent is committed to ensuring, as far as possible, that no student is disadvantaged by the industrial action. We are therefore working to minimise any disruption to your studies during this period.   

In line with Office for Students (OfS) guidance, and following the University’s own processes and procedures, we are carrying out a comprehensive exercise to collect and assess information on any potential or actual impact and put in place mitigation, where possible, to ensure no students are disadvantaged and that academic standards and outcomes are maintained. All Divisions are carrying out their own impact assessments.  The University will undertake an assessment of the impact on a module-by-module basis and take actions to ensure that learning opportunities are not missed to ensure you are able to meet your course and module learning outcomes. We also apply mechanisms to ensure that you would not be disadvantaged in your assessment or exam outcomes as a direct result of industrial action. 

We are also providing support via these webpages to anyone who is concerned about the impact of the industrial action on them.    

What do I need to do?

Please carry on submitting your assessments in the usual way. We will do our best to ensure that they are marked, and that those marks are shared with you, although this might take longer than usual. Also see our FAQ page, where you can find all the information we currently have about the boycott.  

Goodwill payments and reimbursement of costs

The University understands that the periods of industrial action are an unsettling and difficult time for our students. 

Our expense claim system - for those students who incurred expenditure to attend teaching events cancelled as a result of industrial action - closed on 8 April 2022. 

Separately, we are in the process of undertaking a comprehensive exercise to collect and assess information on the impact of the industrial action on a module-by-module basis. The impact of the action at Kent is, and will be, variable across the academic Divisions, with some students experiencing very little, if any, impact while for others it is more significant. It is therefore important that we have a complete picture of the impact and mitigation undertaken across the University. 

The Executive Group is keeping this under review and once we know the full extent we will be in a position to make an informed decision regarding goodwill payments, which is fair and equitable to students given the variability of impact across the academic Divisions.   

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