Staff Strikes 2022-23

This page will guide you through the background behind UCU strike action, and signpost on how to get support.

Current situation

Update 02/06/2023

The SU has released an updated statement following measures for final year undergraduates being agreed at Senate on 01/06/23.

Update 26/05/2023

The SU has released a new statement regarding the ongoing situation regarding the UCU Marking and Assessment Boycott. This statement includes an update on what The SU has been doing, and information on where you can get advice should you wish to make a complaint relating to the impact of the Boycott.

We also want to use this opportunity to remind you that if you have any queries or concerns regarding the Boycott, that in the first instance you should contact your department by speaking with your Director of Studies or Teaching. They should have up to date information to provide clear guidance on how your cohort will be individually affected.

Should your department not know the answer there are a series of central FAQs, as well as a University central email address that all students can use should they have any concerns about the Boycott. 

Update 25/04/2023

In response to the University's statement regarding the potential UCU Marking and Assessment Boycott, The SU released a statement. Read it here.

Update 12/04/2023

UCU Marking and Assessment Boycott: What is going on?

A national marking and assessment boycott has been called by the University and College Union (UCU). The boycott is in response to disputes over pensions, pay, and working conditions, and is set to start on Thursday, 20 April 2023. It will carry on until the disputes are settled, or UCU calls off the boycott, or at the end of the industrial action ballot mandate (usually six months after the industrial action ballot closes).

Your SU Officers are currently meeting with local UCU branch representatives to discuss what impact this may have on students, and with the Pro-Vice-Chancellor Education to ask what mitigations the University will be putting in place to minimise these impacts. The outcome of our UCU Strike referendum in February covers all types of industrial action for the rest of academic year, and therefore the SU does not support this industrial action.

During the boycott, it is likely that some academic staff will not undertake marking, feedback, or exam setting, which may impact students' academic progress. The extent to which you will be affected will also depend on what department you are in due to differing numbers of staff taking part in the boycott. For more information on what could happen, please visit this FAQ.

Further updates on how the boycotts will affect students and how the SU can support are expected to be available early next week. The SU Officers have sent a list of questions we know you will have about this to the University and have asked them to respond as soon as possible to ensure that you have all the information you need. In the meantime, please explore this page for information on all ongoing support.

Update 15/03/2023

Staff at the University of Bath will be striking this week, along with staff at 150 other universities across the UK.

From Wednesday 15 - Friday 17 of March the University and College Union (UCU) for academic and senior professional services staff will be taking industrial action over pay, working conditions, and pensions. Strikes are planned to continue next week between Monday 20 – Wednesday 22 March.

You can find more information on the staff action on the SU website. The Office for Students (OfS) has published guidance for any students who might be affected by industrial action, which you may find useful.

As a result of our referendum, our student community have voted for the SU to not support the UCU strike action.

Following the outcome of the referendum the SU has been working with Academic Reps to gather feedback on mitigations being used by departments for missed teaching due to strikes, and continues to speak with the University senior management team regarding the mitigations and to encourage swift action to bring strikes and other action to a close.

If the strikes have significantly impacted your ability to complete an assessment or if you wish to make a complaint, support is available through the SU Advice team and there is also information available online.

Update 10/02/2023

The referendum has closed and the results are available

Update 27/01/2023

The SU has formally announced notice of a referendum following approval from the Board of Trustees. All students have been emailed with details of the referendum and how they can get involved.

Voting will open 12:00 mid-day Friday 3 February and close 15:00 Friday 10 February with the question Should The SU support UCU industrial action until the end of the academic year 2022/23? and the options Yes/No/Abstain.

Announcement of the outcome of the referendum will be made by 17:00 Friday 10 February.

We are aware that before the announcement of the outcome there will be three days of strike action (Wednesday 1, Thursday 9 and Friday 10 February), for these three dates The SU will have a neutral stance related to the action.

Update 25/01/2023

UCU announced on 17 January the first day of strike action in its 18 day plan, with action to take place on Wednesday 1 February to coincide with TUC's 'protect the right to strike' day.

UCU announced on 24 January the the full timetable of strike action as:

Week 1 : Wednesday 1 February

Week 2 : Thursday 9 and Friday 10 February

Week 3 : Tuesday 14, Wednesday 15 and Thursday 16 February

Week 4 : Tuesday 21, Wednesday 22 and Thursday 23 February PAUSED

Week 5: Monday 27 and Tuesday 28 February and Wednesday 1 and Thursday 2 March PAUSED

No action week commencing Monday 6 March

Week 6 : NEW ADDITIONAL DATE ANNOUNCED Wednesday 15 March, original datesThursday 16 and Friday 17 March

Week 7 : Monday 20, Tuesday 21 and Wednesday 22 March

On 25 January nationally UCU will meet with Universities and Colleges Employers Association. UCU have made this announcement regarding the dates and their demands.

Update 03/01/23

Following nationwide balloting, it was announced that UCU, the University & College Union, planned three days of strikes in November 2022 in relation to staff pay, working conditions, and pensions. The Bath branch of UCU supported this announcement, and described this mandate as "the strongest bargaining hand we've had in well over a decade".

At the time, UCU also threatened further strike action in the new year, including a potential marking and assessment boycott. In December, UCU released its 2023 Winning the Dispute Strike Action Strategy which announced that the UCU Higher Education Committee voted for a marking and assessment boycott to begin in January, and for an all-out indefinite strike to begin in February. The Strategy outlines potential timelines for strike action and a marking and assessment boycott.

On 12 January UCU updated their plan of action which announced 18 days of strike action in February and March, building to a marking and assessment boycott in April. Plans are that dates of strike action will be announced the week of 16 January. Therefore, The SU has postponed its referendum until dates are announced and will then propose new wording and timeline for a referendum.






On this Page:

Previous situation: UCU Strikes 24-30 November 2022

Nationally, members of UCU balloted in support for strike action regarding disputes relating to pay, working conditions, and pension cuts. The University of Bath branch of UCU also balloted in favour of strike action.

On the 08 November, UCU announced that over 70,000 university staff at 150 universities could strike for three days in November. UCU  stated that the strike disruption can be avoided if employers act quickly to make improved offers, but if not, threatened escalted action in the New Year, alongside a marketing and assessment boycott. The National Union of Students (NUS) has backed the strikes, which could impact up to 2.5 million students.

Strike dates

From the 23 November, staff also began industrial action short of strike action, which included working to rule, refusing to make up work lost as a result of strike action, and refusing to cover for absent colleagues.

  • Strike date 1: Thursday 24 November
  • Strike date 2: Friday 25 November
  • Strike date 3: Wednesday 30 November

For this period of action, the three days of strikes in November 2022, The SU made a statement in solidarity with UCU, and in support of the three day strike action.

Read our full statement from November here.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is UCU?

The University and College Union (UCU) is the Trade Union which represents over 110,000 academics, lecturers, trainers, instructors, researchers, managers, administrators, computer staff, librarians and postgraduates in universities, colleges, prisons, adult education and training organisations across the UK.

Why is the strike happening?

Nationally, the reasons why UCU have decided to ballot can be summarised under two headings: Pay & Working conditions dispute, and Pension dispute. UCU state that the UK university sector generated record income of £41.1bn last year with vice chancellors collectively earning an estimated £45million. UCU argue that the sector can afford to meet staff demands.

1) Pay and Working conditions dispute

UCU are demanding a meaningful pay rise to deal with the cost-of-living crisis and action to end the use of insecure contracts. This is after employers implemented a pay rise worth 3% this year following over a decade of below inflation pay awards. A third of academic staff are on some form of temporary contract.

Graph showing the real-term increase in pay for striking workers

2) Pensions dispute

UCU is demanding employers revoke the cuts and restore benefits. They argue that the package of cuts made earlier this year will see the average member lose 35% from their guaranteed future retirement income. UCU report that for those at the beginning of their careers the losses are in the hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Read UCU's full announcement here from November. 

Read UCU's updated announcement here from January

What has The SU done so far?

  • SU Officers have met with UCU to understand the issue and how we can work together to limit the use of strikes and allow students to understand why lecturers are striking.

  • SU Officers are meeting with senior University staff, and raised concerns relating to how the University will minimise the impact of strikes.

  • The SU held a referendum to allow all members to have their say on whether The SU should support UCU's industrial action for the remainder of the 2022/23 academic year. 

  • In relation to the proposed Marking and Assessment Boycott SU Officers met with UCU representatives and senior University staff for an update and to highlight student concerns and request information on how the University will be mitigating against impact for students. Weekly meetings will take place to ensure The SU is updated and student concerns can be fed through.

  • The SU has built this Strikes information and FAQ page.

How would a strike impact me?

  • Strikes are meant to disrupt, this may mean that certain staff are unavailable, lectures, seminars and meetings are cancelled last minute, and services take longer than usual.

  • UCU have explained that staff do not want to carry out industrial action, but they believe the threat is a necessary use of action which will progress talks.

  • Students will not be abandoned. The University always ensures essential services such as Wellbeing, Security and Food provision will continue but may be disrupted. The SU will maintain communication with students as the strike progresses. 

  • If you incur extra costs due to the Industrial action, then you can make an application to the University of Bath Hardship Fund for financial assistance. If you have any further questions, please contact Student Money Advice.

  • If your wellbeing is impacted, please see the FAQ 'Where can I get help or advice if I'm worried?' further down on this page.

Will the Strike continue?

  • Further strikes and industrial action such as assessment and marking boycotts could happen if the dispute goes unresolved.
  • UCU have said that this disruption can be avoided if "employers act fast and make improved offers". And stated in November that, if employers don't, strike action would escalate in the New Year alongside a marking and assessment boycott.

How do I show support for UCU?

We have asked UCU about how students can demonstrate their support for strike action if they wish to, UCU has advised that students can:

  • Follow and RT/like '@UCUBath' on Twitter or '@bath_ucu' on Instagram.
  • Send messages in support of striking staff demands on social media – tagging #ucurising, #bathucurising @UCUBath, @UCU, @UniofBath.
  • Write to the Vice-Chancellor ( ask that he publicly call upon UCEA and UUK to offer deals acceptable to UCU.
  • Email and talk to lecturers/tutors and tell them you support the strike / ask them to support the strike.
  • Talk to fellow students and explain why the strike action is taking place, and ask them to similarly support the strike.
  • Visit the picket lines and chat to striking staff.
  • Download resources from UCU, print them for windows (especially on campus), or tweet/post them:

Can I request tuition fee refunds/reimbursement?

  • Student complaints are delt with on a case-by-case basis, but the University usually takes reasonable steps to minimise potential disruption.
  • The University is regulated by the Office for Students as well as the Competition and Markets Authority which ensure that students’ learning objectives are met.
  • If students believe their learning objectives are not being met, then they can make a complaint to the University via the Student Complaints Procedure
  • The SU Advice and Support team can provide support to students issuing a complaint. They are available via: or in the Advice and Support Office, Level 3 of the Student Centre, Monday – Friday, 10:00 – 15:30.

What is the National Union of Students' stance?

NUS have announced support for the strikes. VP Higher Education, Chloe Field, has said "'Students stand in solidarity with the 70,000 university staff across the UK who will strike later this month. Staff teaching conditions are students' learning conditions, and we must fight together for a fairer, healthier education system for everyone who works and studies". Read more here.

How do I contact University about this?

Your Director of Studies can offer you specific advice about your academic experience. Doctoral students can also receive support from the Doctoral College.

The University have also published their own Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) webpages:

  • Industrial action: FAQs for students [awaiting link].

Where can I get help or advice if I'm worried?

  • Your Director of Studies can offer you advice about your specific academic circumstances. Doctoral students can also receive support from the Doctoral College.
  • The University’s Wellbeing Service is available seven days a week. You can book an appointment online or get in touch by phone (01225 383838) or email ( All the services are confidential.
  • Our Be Well - Talk Now service also provides free, confidential advice and support by phone, video call or live chat from anywhere in the world, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
  • The Advice & Support Centre at the Students’ Union offers independent advice on your academic circumstances and options, including on the complaints process, and provides a range of other support services. The Advice and Support team are impartial and neutral and will provide you with advice regardless of the stance taken by The SU following the referendum.

What do I do now?

  • Check out our Toolkit below.
  • You should continue with your academic work, attend all scheduled classes, and prepare for assessments as normal. If you are especially worried about a particular assessment, please write to your Director of Studies or Head of Department.
  • You can also turn to the Academic Skills Centre for generalised help with assignments.

University webpage & FAQs

The University will also publish their own Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) webpages:

Industrial Action Toolkit by SU Advice & Support

The Students’ Union Advice Team provides independent support to students affected by strikes. These Tools are to help you feel prepared for the strikes & know your rights if your studies are affected. The tools are informed by the OIA guide to industrial action for students (Industrial action - FAQ for students - OIAHE). 

Tool 1: Be Prepared

It’s normal to feel distressed about the impact of strike action on your studies or research (if you’re a Doctoral Student) especially if you’ve experienced disruption before.

First step: read the SU guide to the Staff Strikes to understand why the industrial action is taking place.

Second step: check with your Academic Department to see what additional arrangements are being made to minimise the disruption to your work.

Each Faculty/Department/School will make different adjustments depending on the level of disruption, so it’s hard to say exactly what will be appropriate to your situation. Actions Departments have taken in the past include:

  • Rescheduling in-person teaching to later in the year.
  • Providing some material online.
  • Delivering teaching in other formats, e.g. guided readings or recordings.
  • Adjusting submission deadlines & the weight & content of assessments.

Let your Department know as soon as possible if you believe the replacement learning opportunities don’t meet your needs, for example, if you are disabled, have an impairment or a specific learning difficulty.

Tool 2: Know your options for Advice & Support

Several services will remain open & available to you throughout the period of strike action.

Tool 3: Understand your Rights

The University’s obligations to you are covered by Consumer Protection Law. This means you can expect the University to make reasonable adjustments to minimise the impact of disruption on your studies, for example offering equivalent opportunities to compensate for missed teaching & treating all students fairly. If your Department takes reasonable steps to replace lost learning opportunities, it’s unlikely you’ll receive a refund on your tuition fees.

Tip: It’s a good idea to read your course handbook (or similar document) to understand what you are entitled to expect from your studies, in terms of contact hours & other learning opportunities.

If you are affected by strike action, we encourage you to keep a record of how your studies have been affected (e.g. a change in teaching hours, supervision, access to facilities, services & opportunities) plus any financial loss or distress this has caused you. This evidence is useful if you need to report significant impact on your ability to complete an assessment (via the IMC process, which the SU Advice and Support Team can help with) or believe you have grounds to make complaint. Examples of evidence you might record include:

  • If you arrange for a paid notetaker & a lecture that’s cancelled at short notice, record any costs you’re still required to pay.
  • If you’re particularly distressed about the disruption caused to a crucial assessment (e.g. in your final year or an assessment required to progress to the next level of your studies).
  • If you feel the learning outcomes for a module aren’t delivered in full or to the expected standard by putting the material online.

Tip: When making a complaint, be aware it’s difficult to make a direct correlation between missed teaching & your tuition fees. You can’t divide £9,250 by the number of teaching weeks & the number of teaching hours per week to work out the cost of each lecture etc. Tuition fees cover more than just teaching activities and include access to facilities, support services & other learning opportunities.

Be aware it is possible that the University may quote a 'force majeure' clause (see the glossary below for a definition) to exclude any liability for losses caused by strike action (i.e. if the strike action is beyond their control).

Tool 4: Know how to report significant impact on your ability to complete an assessment

If you feel your ability to undertake an assessment or exam has been significantly affected (for example, your have a specifici learning difficulty & the replacement learning activities don't meet your needs) you may be eligible to submit an Individual Mitigating Circumstances (IMC) claim. This process is to help students who have experienced exceptional disruption & impact on their studies.

The SU Advice and Support Team can guide you through the IMC process & review your IMC report form before you submit it. Email

Tool 5: Know how to make a complaint

If you feel your Department hasn’t met your learning objectives through reasonable adjustments to teaching, you are entitled to make a complaint.

The University can receive complaints from a group of students who were all affected in the same way. You can submit a group complaint by appointing a representative/asking your academic rep and approaching the SU Advice & Support Centre. Our Advisors provide advice on writing your complaint & can support you to attend meetings as part of the complaints process.

Tip: Engaging with the formal University procedures is the best way to get your concerns addressed. By limiting your complaint to signing a petition, you might miss the opportunity to have your specific concerns properly addressed.

If you engage with the University procedure, you also ensure you have the option to make a complaint to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA) if you’re unhappy with how the University handles your complaint. The OIA is an independent body who review student complaints about higher education provider. There service is free to all students but they will only consider complaints after they have been through the University process. The SU Advice and Support Team can help you to make a complaint to the OIA. You can read previous examples of student complaints & outcomes from strike action on the OIA website.

Previous strike action 2021-2022 AY

In the academic year 2021-22, there were similar UCU staff strikes that occured in three waves, across both Semester 1 and 2, amounting to a total of 15 days of strike action. This industrial action was in relation to similar disputes, at Bath, the main reason behind staff striking was pension disputes.


What is a Trade Union?

  • An organisation that employees of a certain profession can join for representation and political bargaining (this is different to an SU - SUs are charities, not trade unions).

What is a Strike?

  • A strike is a period of time where employees decide not to come into work in protest about a particular aspect about their employment. They do not get paid whilst on strike. Strikes are often referred to as ‘industrial action’.

What is a Picket Line?

  • A picket line is a boundary established by workers on strike – often at the entrance to their workplace – which others are asked not to cross.

What is the University and College Union (UCU)?

  • The University and College Union (UCU) represents over 110,000 academics, lecturers, trainers, instructors, researchers, managers, administrators, computer staff, librarians and postgraduates in universities, colleges, prisons, adult education and training organisations across the UK.

What does 'Force Majeure' mean?

  • If the University relies on a force majeure clause, excluding liability for losses caused by strike action, that would have to be considered in the context of consumer law principles: terms and conditions, including rules and regulations, should be clear and transparent and should strike a fair balance between the University's rights and obligations and those of its students. There is also a debate to be had about whether strike action is genuinely force majeure – that is, out of the control of the provider.

What does 'Action short of strike' mean?

  • This is when workers take other action such as working to rule (follow official working rules and hours exactly in order to reduce output and efficiency), go slows, overtime bans or callout bans.

Want to find out more?

Get in contact - if you want to talk any further, then please email: