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What are the UCU Strikes?

Information on the UCU Strikes taking place in November and what it means.

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UCU Strikes November 2022 


“What are the strikes about?” 

Pay and working conditions. 

University staff are subject to real terms pay cut. Inflation stands at 12.6% (as of September 2022), yet employers offered staff a 3% pay rise. With inflation forecast to keep increasing, university staff salaries will continue to fall further short of the cost of living.  

Staff workload is on the rise. To complete all the work expected of them, lecturers on average work an extra 16 hours per week (unpaid) on top of their normal working hours. This negatively affects staff mental health and wellbeing. 

Across the country, universities are becoming more reliant on staff employed on casual contracts, such as zero-hour and short-term contracts. This lack of job security also affects staff mental health and wellbeing. 


What are the UCU’s demands?” 

The University and College Union (UCU) are calling for: 

  •  An increase to all spine points on the national pay scale of at least inflation (RPI) + 2% or 12% whichever is the higher 

  • Nationally-agreed action, using an intersectional approach, to close the gender, ethnic and disability pay gaps 

  • An agreed framework to eliminate precarious employment practices by universities 

  • Nationally agreed action to address excessive workloads and unpaid work, to include addressing the impact that excessive workloads are having on workforce stress and ill-health 

  • For the standard weekly, full-time contract of employment to be 35 hours, with no loss of pay. 


“When are strikes taking place?” 

There are three strike days currently scheduled: Thursday 24th November, Friday 25th November, and Wednesday 30th November 


“What is a picket line?” 

A picket line is where workers and union reps stand outside a workplace (like a university building) to tell others why they are striking and encourage others to stand in solidarity with them. 

Pickets must not prevent people from going to work or using university buildings if they want to do so. 


“Can I go into University buildings during the strike?” 

Yes. It is against the law for picketers to block people from entering workplace buildings. However, we urge you to not cross picket lines where possible. However, please do not feel like you cannot access wellbeing or disability services – we encourage you to take care of your own wellbeing first! 


“Should I attend my academic commitments?” 

If your lecturer has informed you that they are striking, you do not need to attend affected lectures. If your lecturer is not striking, it is up to you whether you attend.  

Travel costs will be refunded to students if they travel to campus and their class is not taking place. You can find out more information about this here


“What happens to my assignments that are due on a strike day?” 

The University have announced that assessment deadlines on the following dates have been moved: 

  • Thursday 24 and Friday 25 November moves to Monday 28 November 

  • Wednesday 30 November moves to Thursday 1 December 

  • Tuesday 6 December moves to Wednesday 7 December 


“How can I support the strike?” 

There are many ways you can show solidarity with striking staff. You can: 

  • Submit your thoughts to Digital Rep! These will be collated and anonymously presented to university management.  

  • Show your support at the picket lines! Picketing is a legal activity, and these lines are aimed at spreading awareness, gaining support, and convincing others to join the strike.  

  • Email your lecturers to show that you support them. It can be a really difficult time for striking staff, so knowing that you support them will make it easier for them. 

  • Write to the Vice-Chancellor asking that he uses his voice as a member of Universities UK (UUK) that he supports his staff and opposes national plans. 


“I’m a PGR who teaches – can I go on strike?” 

Yes. PGRs who also teach can become a member of UCU for free. You can join here. 


“What have Roehampton students said about the strikes?” 

Students’ Union Council (where 29 student representatives discuss issues directly relating to the student experience), held on the 10th November, passed the proposal ‘UCU Strike Action 2022’. You can find the proposal here


“What have others said?” 

The National Union of Students (NUS) have announced solidarity with striking university staff, stating that “Staff teaching conditions are students' learning conditions, and we must fight together for a fairer, healthier education system for everyone who works and studies... 'The struggles we face as students are inextricably linked to the reasons that staff are striking. High rents, astronomical international student fees, and cuts to maintenance support have happened for the same reasons that staff are suffering under huge workloads - the failed marketisation of the sector which has put profit above staff and student well-being.” 


“How can I find out more?” 

Check out the university’s FAQs here

Find out more information directly from members of the UCU here

For more information about how the RSU and the University is supporting students during the strike action, please get in contact with us at