Trade union members recently accepted a proposal to suspend strikes and discuss the issue further. There are no further strikes scheduled.
At the national level, there was a disagreement about the plan to tackle the current projected gap between the projected value of the USS pension fund and the amount it would need to pay pensions in the future.
While the organisations involved in the national dispute continue their negotiations and consultations with members, the President and Provost have listened to staff concerns, and these have played an important role in shaping the College’s response to the situation to date.
Information for students
Why did the industrial action happen?
The industrial action took place as part of a national dispute over pensions for academic and other groups of staff working within the Higher Education sector. More information on the dispute is available on the main USS changes page.
How will it affect me?
We are working with heads of department to minimise any impacts from strike action earlier in the year.
If any of your academic staff chose to take part in industrial action they may have refused to give lectures, support teaching and assessment activities, or give you feedback on your work.
During the strike it is important that you continued to:
- Be aware of any changes to schedules
- Attend all lectures and other teaching sessions as scheduled
- Submit coursework by the specified deadlines
- Attend all scheduled examinations and other assessments
I missed teaching opportunities, what are you doing to ensure fairness in assessments?
We appreciate that the effects of the industrial action are a cause for concern for some students. We’re committed to putting measures in place that will safeguard your ability to progress or graduate, depending on the stage of your studies. Where we are able to identify a negative impact upon students and there’s an immediate action available in mitigation, your department has sought to enact it, for example providing an extension to a deadline for submitting coursework.
At the moment departments are gathering information on learning activities that were affected by the strike action. The impact will vary across departments, across programmes within departments and even between individual students on the same courses. We will review the impact in each department and apply appropriate measures.
These measures can take various forms. For example: revising the format and/or content of your assessments (including examinations); extending project deadlines. Anything we put in place needs to be fair to all our students and practical to implement, and must safeguard the standards that underpin the quality of your degree.
The Board of Examiners that will consider your academic results at the end of the academic year will know the full details of the impact of the strike, and will ensure that any mitigation is fair and reasonable. Your department will inform you of any measures as soon as they have been agreed. If you are concerned about what is happening about any forthcoming assessments, please contact your department office, who can refer you to academic colleagues as appropriate.
Are exams affected?
We intend that all scheduled assessments and exams will take place as planned, notwithstanding revised formatting or content.
Can I apply for extenuating circumstances due to the strikes?
The strike action is not a valid reason to apply for extenuating circumstances. If any courses were affected by strike action we will address this on a course-by-course basis.
We understand your concern and we want to assure you that we are committed to mitigating the impact of the strike action. We take our responsibilities very seriously, and individual departments will let you know more as mitigation plans are put in place and/or updated.
I already have extenuating circumstances and the strikes made my condition worse. What should I do?
If you’re already in touch with your department (via a personal tutor, senior tutor, department office, wellbeing adviser etc), please continue to seek their support and advice. In particular if you believe that the current situation has exacerbated your circumstances, you should seek advice about submitting additional evidence in support of your extenuating circumstances through your department, using the standard process, to ensure that the Board of Examiners are fully aware and can act accordingly. It is expected that the fact that your condition has worsened will be verified by your medical adviser or other similar professional.
If you’re feeling any impact on your health or wellbeing and you’re not already in contact with your personal tutor, we strongly advise that you do so. Please visit the Student Space page for further information.
Will I be compensated for any teaching that doesn’t take place?
Your fees cover all aspects of your time at Imperial, and are based on the delivery of overall outcomes, rather than being payments for specific contact hours. Through our mitigation plans, we are aiming to ensure the impact of the strike on these outcomes is kept to a minimum. Our focus is on your education and we will continue to do all that we can to maximise your outcomes while keeping the situation under review.
Information for staff
What happens to my pay if I took part in the industrial action in February and March?
At its meeting on 23 March Provost’s Board agreed to stagger pay deductions over three months as follows:
- Strike action for 22, 23, 26, 27 and 28 February to be deducted in March payroll
- Strike action for 5, 6, 7 and 8 March (plus any delayed notifications for February) to be deducted in April payroll
- Strike action for 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16 March to be deducted in May payroll.
Deductions will be made on the basis of 1/365th of annual salary for each day of full industrial action.
Some staff have notified the College that they undertook partial performance of their contract as they attended and carried out work but cancelled scheduled student activities on the strike days. For these staff deductions will be made on the basis of 25% of 1/365th of annual salary.
Any deducted salary funding will be retained by departments.
What happens to my pay if I have been working to contract under ASOS (Action Short Of a Strike)?
No pay deductions will be made for staff who have been working to contract under ‘ASOS’. We had previously informed staff that deductions would not be made for those working to contract or not undertaking voluntary activities and this has now been extended so there will be no financial implications for those not covering for absent colleagues or not rescheduling lectures or classes cancelled due to strike action. No salary deductions were made for ASOS whilst this decision was pending.
Do I need to inform the College I am taking part in strike action?
If you are a member of staff, you are not obliged to inform us in advance of your intention to strike or ASOS, however we would respectfully request that you notify the College of your intention prior to taking part in any industrial action. Two options are available to notify the College:
- Log strike action or ASOS directly in TeamSeer. All requests will be routed directly to the Director of HR’s inbox for approval, and line managers will receive a notification that the absence has been approved;
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org copied to your Head of Department and Departmental Manager
In your correspondence to the Director of HR’s inbox, please state the following:
- Your name, CID number and Department
- All dates you intend to take industrial action
- All dates you intend to take ASOS
If you choose not to provide this notification in advance of a strike day, we would request that you at least do so on the day you are going to be absent, ideally, prior to your normal start time.
What will happen to my salary if I take strike action?
The College will be withholding a full day’s pay for each day that a member of staff takes strike action and this will be calculated at the rate of 1/365.
The College is also entitled to withhold a day’s pay for each day of partial performance of duties or for any other ASOS, however, at this point in time, the decision has been taken to only withhold 25% of a day’s pay for ASOS. The College reserves the right to review this percentage should the dispute escalate. We will therefore be monitoring the situation closely.
All Tier 2 & 5 sponsored workers should carefully consider the implications on their immigration status of time off work due to strike action. In particular, please be aware that:
You are not permitted to be absent from work without pay for more than 4 weeks in total per calendar year (1 January to 31 December). Should your total unpaid absence exceed this limit the College would be required to inform UKVI and would be unable to continue sponsoring you.
Strike days are classified under UKVI rules as ‘unauthorised absence’. If you were to have 10 consecutive working days of unauthorised absence, the College would therefore be required to notify UKVI.
Should strike day salary deductions lead to your salary falling below the minimum threshold rate for sponsorship, the College would be unable to continue sponsoring you.
What will happen to my pension if I take strike action?
Industrial action automatically suspends a member of staff’s employment contract, impacting upon the build-up of their pension benefits. Death in service and ill heath retirement benefits are still covered during the strike days detailed above, however the USS Trustees have reserved the right to review this position if the industrial action is extended beyond these days.