Industrial action and students | University of Oxford
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Industrial action and students

Page updated 13 April 2018

Industrial action - information for students

Industrial action took place at Oxford and many other universities across the country during Hilary term. 

However, action that was planned for Trinity Term has now been suspended.

This page provides information about the industrial action, and what it means for Oxford students.

Why did the strikes happen?

The University and College Union (UCU) voted to strike in response to proposals to change the benefit structure of USS, the pension scheme for academic and professional staff at more than 300 UK higher education institutions. You can read more about the background on the websites of UUK (the umbrella body for UK universities, which is representing the employers), and the UCU. There is also a dedicated page on the University website.

Will any more strikes take place this term?

On 13 April, the UCU voted to support the creation of a Joint Expert Panel, which means the strike action previously planned for Trinity term has been suspended. 

Will any cancelled teaching be rescheduled?

Every effort was made to ensure that replacement teaching or alternative arrangements were made for students during Hilary term. Your department or faculty will notify you of any rescheduled teaching or alternative provision as appropriate if they haven't already. 

Will exams take place, and should I attend?

All examinations will take place as scheduled.  You should attend all examinations and assessments as normal, according to the timetable issued to you.

Will any disruption during Hilary term be considered when it comes to assessments and examinations?

We are committed to minimising disruption for students, and addressing any impact on teaching and learning.

However, if you believe that you have been negatively impacted by any changes to planned teaching, and that the alternatives provided have not been sufficient, you may wish to make a mitigating circumstances application, such as an extension request, or a ‘Factors Affecting Performance’ notice.

If you do apply for mitigation, you will need to provide  supporting evidence. Departments and faculties have kept track of the impact of the strikes, as well as rescheduled teaching and alternative provision, so they will be able to provide you with written confirmation of the circumstances to include in your application.

Information about mitigating circumstances procedures is included in the University Student Handbook, and further guidance on the Factors Affecting Performance process is available on the Oxford Students website.

If you would like to discuss this further, you should speak to your College Office in the first instance. They will provide you with the appropriate forms and guidance and submit the application on your behalf.

I’ve got a submission deadline coming up – what should I do?

You should complete any assessments according to submission dates already published, unless told otherwise. If a deadline is extended, your department or faculty will advise all students in your cohort. If you would like to apply for an individual extension, you should consult your Senior Tutor or College Office as usual.

I’m a DPhil student – will this affect me?

If there has been any disruption to your supervision you should let the Graduate Studies Assistant in your Department or Faculty know so that appropriate contingency measures can be considered. Interactions with your supervisor will now be as normal, so you should contact them in the usual way. If you have experienced any disruption during Hilary term, then it may be appropriate or necessary for PGR milestones to be adjusted and your Department or Faculty will be in touch with you accordingly. 

What will happen to the money that would have been paid to University staff if they were not on strike?

The University will not benefit from any monies accrued through this strike action. Council has committed to consult students on how deductions from striking staff can be put to best use for the benefit of students. 

Who do I contact if I have further questions or concerns?

If you have questions about teaching or supervision in your Faculty or Department, you should speak to your Academic Administrator or your Supervisor or Course Tutor in the first instance, or to your Head of Department.

If you have a question that they cannot answer, or is not covered by the information on this page, please use the enquiry form below. This will either be passed on to the appropriate person, or you may get a direct reply. We may also update this page as a result of your query.

If you have a question that has not been covered on this page, please use the enquiry form below.

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