We understand how frustrating strike action will be for our students and staff.
We are focused on doing everything we can to minimise the impact on teaching and learning, working closely with faculties and departments to provide support and help to ensure that students continue to receive the best possible experience at King's.
We continue to strive to find a constructive and collaborative way forward, recognising that certain issues raised such as those on pensions and pay are negotiated and decided at a national level, so while we do our best to influence and secure the best outcome for our staff, the final decision is not ours to make.
In this article you will find information relating to:
- Exams and assessments
- General questions
- Teaching and learning
- International students
- Further questions
When will industrial action take place?
UCU (the University and College Union) has a mandate for both strike action and action short of a strike (ASOS) after a recent ballot of their members.
No strike action is currently planned. UCU are required to give at least two weeks’ notice before striking and we will update you if strike days are announced.
Action short of strike (ASOS) is currently ongoing and will now continue until further notice following the renewal of UCU's mandate for industrial action.
ASOS will now include a marking and assessment boycott from Thursday 20 April. Please read our article How might my exams and assessments be affected by industrial action, including the marking and assessment boycott? for more information on how this may affect you.
What is the dispute about?
The dispute is because of changes that needed to be made to the Universities Superannuation pension scheme (USS), which around 200,000 university staff across the UK are members of.
The strikes are also taking place over the 2022-23 pay award and working conditions, for which the Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) represents universities.
Rates of pay as in most universities are negotiated annually through National Pay Bargaining, a process which King's fully supports as it promotes fairness and equality across the sector.
Important to know: For more information on how King's is tackling key issues highlighted by the industrial action, please read our article How King's is tackling key issues.
Please read our article How might my exams and assessments be affected by industrial action, including the marking and assessment boycott? for more information.
What is industrial action?
Industrial action is the general term for collective legal actions taken by employees of a company or organisation as a protest. It can consist of both strike action and action short of a strike (ASOS).
What is strike action?
Strike action is a form of industrial action where some workers collectively withdraw their labour on specific days.
The trade union will notify the university of strike days at least two weeks in advance. However, individual staff members are not legally required to notify the university of their intention to strike on these defined days.
What is action short of strike (ASOS)?
Action short of a strike (ASOS) is when staff take other action such as limiting some of their work-related activities outside of any strike days. ASOS is determined by the union and can run simultaneously to strike days and continue until the union calls it off.
At this point in time, ASOS consists of a marking and assessment boycott, as well as staff members working their contracted hours and duties and not volunteering to do more, not rescheduling classes and lectures cancelled due to strike action, not covering for absent colleagues, removing uploaded materials related to, and/or not sharing materials related to lectures or classes that will be or have been cancelled because of strike action.
How could industrial action affect me?
The university will remain open, and we will do everything we can to ensure you continue to have access to the facilities and services on campus including informal study spaces, libraries and computer rooms.
There may be some changes to opening and closing times of some of our buildings and some entrances and exits may not be in use. Signs will be in place to direct you to alternative entrances and exits.
Some of the opening times for libraries may change so please check the libraries website.
Our student advice, wellbeing and welfare services will continue to be available throughout this time.
I feel worried about crossing a picket line. What should I do?
On strike days, you may see a group of people at our campus entrances who are supporting the strike action - this is a picket line. This is a normal activity during strike action and you will still be able to access the building. Our security staff will be on hand to help anyone that would like assistance to enter the building. If you can't easily find a member of the security team, please call +44 (0)207 8482222.
How could industrial action affect research?
We don’t expect the industrial action to have any significant effects on research. Please continue with your research, as guided by your supervisor(s).
We expect related training courses and workshops to continue as normal, so you should attend unless you are advised otherwise by the relevant department or training provider.
If you are a Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA), please see the staff Q&A.
Will teaching and learning go ahead on strike days?
Some staff may choose to strike but many other staff will be working on these days. You should attend unless your lecturer or department tell you otherwise.
Should I attend supervision of projects and dissertations?
You should attend unless your lecturer or department tell you otherwise.
Should I submit assignments?
Yes, you should continue to submit your assignments to the existing deadline. You will be notified if there is any change in the submission arrangements. You will not need to apply for mitigating circumstances if the department adjusts assignment deadlines as a consequence of industrial action.
Will any sessions be cancelled?
There may be instances where sessions have to be cancelled. If they can, your faculty or department will let you know as soon as possible of any change to your timetabled session. Please continue to check your emails and KEATS regularly. However, we are not always able to inform you of any changes in advance, as staff members are not legally required to tell the university if they plan to take industrial action.
Important to know:
- If a staff member does not arrive for the start of a teaching session, you should wait a few minutes to make sure your lecturer is not late before leaving the room.
- If a lecture, tutorial or other planned contact point is cancelled due to industrial action, please make a note of it.
What should I do if my lecture or class is rescheduled because of strike action?
If your lecture or class is affected by strike action but still takes place, you are expected to attend at the rescheduled time unless you have been given prior permission to be absent in line with normal procedure.
Will I still be able to access campus during industrial action?
Yes, the university will remain open, and we will do everything we can to ensure you continue to have access to the facilities and services on campus including informal study spaces, libraries and computer rooms.
We will support you with your studies and independent learning. Our student advice, wellbeing and welfare services will continue to be available to you throughout this time.
I’m a King’s Online student. How could industrial action affect me?
You may still experience some disruption on strike days, including cancellation of live teaching events and facilitated webinars, or reduced moderation in discussion forums. Your Student Success Advisor will remain available throughout the period of industrial action and should continue to be your first point of contact for all matters related to your programme.
How will the industrial action affect my visa in terms of my attendance record?
Your Student visa conditions are not affected by the industrial action. You should attend as scheduled, and the normal processes for attendance monitoring will apply to undisrupted sessions.
I'm a visiting study abroad/exchange student. How could industrial action affect me?
You may still experience some disruption due to strike action and action short of a strike (ASOS), in the same way as other students. The Global Mobility team will remain available throughout the period of industrial action and can provide additional support and guidance.
Will I still be able to get access to student services?
Student services should be available throughout any industrial action period. More information is available on Student Services Online.
You can also access impartial and confidential academic advice support services from KCLSU. More information is available at KCLSU Advice.
What additional support is available for my personal and professional development?
King’s Edge is a programme of extracurricular initiatives and events available to all students, including internships and volunteering opportunities, language courses, community organising and much more. It will continue to be available throughout industrial action.
You can also sign up for a careers appointment on King's CareerConnect and one of our experienced Careers Consultants will help you discover your options, guide your focus, and action your ideas. Appointments are available in person and online.
You can find out more about our careers offering at King’s and further opportunities available to you on Student news.
Where can I go for support?
We understand that industrial action can cause additional stress and pressure on top of your studies. You may wish to speak to your department or the following services:
- Immigration, money and housing advice services
- Faculty Wellbeing Advisors – you can book an appointment with our team of advisors to discuss and support your personal wellbeing.
- Chaplaincy – emotional support and practised listeners for students of all faiths and none.
- Togetherall – 24/7 external and confidential online support and wellbeing service.
- KCLSU Advice – impartial academic advice for students with issues affecting their studies.
If you are struggling with your mental health, you can may also wish to seek support from our Counselling & Mental Health Support Service. A range of support is available outside King's usual working hours (9.00-17.00, Monday to Friday). For more information, including our King's Counselling Online service, please visit our article on Mental health support during evenings, weekends & vacation periods.
Important to know: The services listed above are not able to answer questions about the industrial action.
Will there be compensation for industrial action?
Not all programmes will be impacted by industrial action because not all staff will take part. This means any potential impact will be variable and specific. As a result, the university will not be making any general changes to tuition fees due to industrial action taking place.
If you feel that your education has been impacted, you have the right to complain through a formal process. Complaints are always considered on their own merits, on a case-by-case basis and outcomes will be specific to individual circumstances. This will include consideration of the ways in which mitigation may have been applied for any teaching that did not take place.
Can I complain about disruption due to industrial action?
Yes, there is a specific process and complaint form for raising a complaint in relation to industrial action. Details are available in the article How can I make a complaint to the university? including timeframes for submitting your complaint.
Important to know: Faculties and departments are unable to deal with any complaints, and these should be directed through the process outlined in the article above.
Do I need to submit a Mitigating Circumstances Form for teaching cancelled due to industrial action?
No, it is not expected that you will need to submit a Mitigating Circumstances Form (MCF) due to strike action, as your department will put in place measures to provide mitigation for all students in this situation.
However, there may be very limited exceptional circumstances where you believe that you have been more severely impacted due to your personal circumstances, and it has unduly affected your assessments.
If this is the case, you should contact your department in the first instance to discuss this. Your department may be able to provide more information on what steps have been taken and will let you know if they think that you have exceptional circumstances, where an MCF may be appropriate, in which case they will support you to complete it.
Who can I send questions to?
If you have any questions or concerns that are not answered here, please contact us by submitting an enquiry through our online enquiry form.
When asked what your enquiry is about, please select ‘industrial action’, to help us get your question to the right team.
You can also contact your faculty or department if you have questions about your programme.