Last updated: Friday 28 July 2023

UCU notified us of a marking and assessment boycott which started on Wednesday 17 May as part of continuous action short of strike (ASOS). UCU later notified us of additional action short of strike (ASOS).

More information on the marking and assessment boycott is available in the message to all students sent on Friday 5 May

Different departments will experience varying levels of disruption, and some may experience no disruption at all.

FAQs for students on industrial action

What is the College's position?

The College fully respects and will not seek to undermine the right of our staff to take industrial action and to withdraw their labour.

What is the dispute about?

This industrial action is all in relation to the 2022-23 pay award. 

The College implements an Annual Pay Award to increase salaries in line with the Joint Trade Unions (JTU) pay claim, benchmarking and the national context. The 2022-23 pay award ranged from 8.5% to 1.1% dependent on salary, with a £1,500 minimum payment and £3,300 maximum payment. 

We commenced this year's local pay bargaining with our JTU colleagues in March, and we shared our full and final offer for 2023-4 at the end of April. You can view the offer online [pdf].

The College undertakes benchmarking exercises on pay. You can view more about benchmarking on the webpages.

How will the College ensure the impact on my studies is minimised?

While we entirely respect the right of our trade unions and their members to undertake industrial action, our immediate priority is to minimise the impact on your studies and we are making every effort to do so. Your department will provide more information if any variations to arrangements are required. 

In terms of the marking and assessment boycott, you should ultimately receive the marks and feedback on all coursework, exams and other assessments as you expected to prior to the boycott, but there may be delays in receiving some marks and feedback.  

Enabling examination boards to make timely decisions about progression to the next year of study and conferral of awards for graduating students is our priority, but there may be delays in classification decisions and the production of complete transcripts.

Given the potential impact the new marking and assessment boycott may have on students, the University Management Board has agreed to withhold 25 per cent of pay per day from every member of staff who chooses to participate in this boycott. We will keep the impact of this action under review and reserve the right to increase the proportion deducted should the disruption to students increase. 

Will the College be closed?

No, the College will remain open as normal.


What will happen to the salaries saved by the College?

Most funds from withheld salaries will be paid directly into the Student Support Fund. Some funding may be allocated to departments if they need to mitigate the impacts of the strike action on students. Any unspent funds will be redirected back to the Student Support Fund.

What is 'action short of strike' (ASOS)?

UCU has notified us of additional action short of strike (ASOS) actions to start from Thursday 25 May: 

  • Working to contract; 
  • Not covering for colleagues;  
  • Not undertaking any voluntary duties including Open Days;  
  • Not making up work missed during industrial action;  
  • Removing uploaded materials related to, and/or not sharing materials related to, work that will be or has been cancelled as a result of strike action;  
  • Not providing materials for others to cover work during industrial action;  
  • Boycott of annual TOAST survey;  
  • Boycott of staff surveys and training, including Imperial essentials training;  
  • Non-participation in departmental and college-wide special events. 

This is in addition to the marking and assessment boycott which started on Wednesday 17 May. 

Will my lectures, tutorials and exams go ahead?

Lectures and tutorials 

We're working hard to mitigate the impact on teaching and assessment activities. Where teaching cannot be delivered as scheduled, it may be rescheduled, delivered by another member of staff, or delivered in a different format. 


We will make every effort to ensure all your assessment activities go ahead and are staffed appropriately. However, your assessment may need to be rescheduled and you will be informed if this is the case. You will not be examined on any content which you have not been taught as a result of strike action. If necessary, assessments will be adjusted to take into account the impact of the strike on teaching. 

Should I submit coursework during the strike period?

You should complete and submit your coursework by the deadlines agreed as usual, even if your lecturer is taking part in the strike. In some instances, the potential absence of staff members due to strike action might make coursework impossible to complete by the agreed deadline. If this is the case, please contact your department.

Can disruption caused by strikes be counted as a mitigating circumstance?

The strike action is not a valid reason to apply for mitigating circumstances. If any of your teaching has been affected by the strike action, inform your department and this will be addressed on a case-by-case basis. We understand your concern and want to assure you that we are committed to minimising the impact of any strike action. 

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 strike action has exacerbated any existing mitigating circumstances, you should seek advice about submitting additional evidence in support of this through your department, using the standard mitigating circumstances process. This will ensure that the Board of Examiners are fully aware and can act accordingly.  

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 Support Zone for further information. 

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 strike action has exacerbated any mitigating circumstances, you should seek advice about submitting additional evidence in support of this through your department, using the standard mitigating circumstances process. This willensure that the Board of Examiners are fully aware and can act accordingly.

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 Support Zone for further information.


I am a research student and my Early Stage Review, Late Stage Review or viva are scheduled during the strike period. What arrangements are being made?

It is possible that arrangements for the viva or reviews may be rescheduled. You are advised to discuss this with your supervisor if you have any concerns. If your supervisor is not available, there are staff within the department that have an oversight of research degree students. If you do not know who this is for your department, check with your departmental office.

I am a Tier 4 visa holder. Will industrial action affect my attendance record and visa?

UKVI Student Sponsor guidance confirms that academic activity/teaching cancelled due to industrial action should not be treated as an unauthorised absence and therefore should not affect your visa status.

Will I have to cross a picket line?

It is likely that there will be a polite picketing presence at some entrances to our campuses on the strike days. While pickets may ask you not to cross a picket line, they cannot stop you from entering the campuses or require you to engage in discussion with them. Those who wish to cross a picket line are allowed to do so. Pickets should consist of a maximum of six people on any picket line. Picketing at Imperial has always been conducted in a respectful way without any intimidation of staff, students or visitors and we're confident that this will continue.

Will there be an impact on College support services?

Most College services and facilities are expected to operate as normal during any period of industrial action. If a member of staff chooses to strike or ASOS, they may tell their department in advance, and this will help us to plan to mitigate any impact on your access to support services.   

In some specific instances, the impact of industrial action may mean that services need to reduce of change their operating hours, rearrange appointments or there may be some variation in delivery. However, such instances are expected to be minimal and every effort will be made to ensure that services are accessible as normal. 

If you have any questions not answered here, you should first get in touch with the teaching office of your Department or your personal tutor. If you still don't have the information you need, you can email