UCU Information & Guidance

As you may be aware Oxford SU stands in solidarity with University and College Union (UCU) in their strike over pay and working conditions.  We believe that people should be paid enough to live decently and that properly remunerated staff with secure and stable jobs.  


What is Happening? 

Strike action will be taking place between Monday 25th November – Wednesday 4th December  

Main picket line will be located outside the Clarendon Building from 8.30am to 11am 


Further picket lines will be at following locations  
- Exam Schools 
- Keble Road entrance science area 
- South Parks road entrance to the science area 
- Radcliffe observatory 
- Old road campus 
- Said Business School 


Picketing Information  

Peaceful attendance at the rally should not give rise to any problems in law, but it should be remembered that students will not be protected from legal action if they engage in such activities as: 

• blocking entrances to premises or physically barring the passage of people or vehicles 

• violent, disorderly or unruly behavior 

• using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behavior (including terms like 'scab') 

• damaging property 

• trespassing on private property 




“I’m an international student - what will happen with my attendance?” International students with visa concerns can contact the SU Advice Centre for free, impartial, advice which is independent of the University. 


“Can I go into University buildings during the strike?” 
The University buildings will be open and available, so you can go to them if you choose to. We urge you not to cross these picket lines wherever possible. However, please do not feel that you cannot access wellbeing, doctors’ appointments or disability services - we encourage you to look after your own wellbeing first. 


“Should I attend to my academic commitments?” 
If your lecturer has informed you that they will be on strike and your lectures will not be on, you have no obligation to attend these. If your lecturer has not told you that they are striking, or you are aware that they are not, it will be up to you as to whether you go to your lectures or not. To go to your contact hours would be to cross the picket line, and we encourage you not to do this. 
“How can I support the strike?” 
 There are many ways you can show solidarity with striking staff during this time. You can: 

  • Show your support at the picket lines! Picketing is a legal activity, and these lines are aimed at spreading awareness, gaining support and convincing as many people are possible to join the strike. Staff immensely value student presence on these picket lines, so pop along to say hello to your staff, give them a cup of tea and a biscuit and tell them that you support them.  

  • Email your lecturers to show that you support them. It can be a really difficult time for striking staff, so knowing that they have the support of their students could make it a lot easier. 

  • Write to the Vice Chancellor asking that she uses her voice as a member of UUK to oppose these plans. 

  • Email UUK and UCEA Presidents telling them you support the strikes, asking them to put forward real proposals which properly address staff concerns over this. 

  • Promote the local strike fund. Staff will not be paid for time they are on strike, so promoting these funds would be really useful to helping them during this time. Staff are risking a huge amount financially to take part in this campaign, so any financial support that can be given to the strike fund is massively appreciated. 


“What will happen to my assessments? Will examinations contain subjects that haven’t been taught?” 
 Unfortunately, at this point, we do not know the answer for this. This is dependent on your department’s examination structure, and how long the dispute goes on for. We will be holding the University to account by assuring that the disruption to students is minimised. It’s important to remember that UCU and your lecturers that are on strike do not wish to cause disruption to you, but to the University.   
“How will I know if my lecturers are going on strike?”  
Staff have no obligation to tell you that they are going on strike – however, some of them may make you aware of this prior to your lectures. This will entirely be an individual choice, however, meaning that it will not always be easy to know if your lectures will be taking place or not. 
“How can I call for my interests to be supported, without undermining the strike?”  
It is completely legitimate to feel angry and frustrated about this strike – however, our stance is to channel this frustration towards the people who actually have the power to end this dispute! We are supporting action which gets the UUK to reverse their decisions on pension reforms which mean staff can go back to doing what they love - teaching, researching and supporting our education.