Uni lecturers may be striking for 3 weeks, and I want a refund
3 weeks works out at £925 worth of tuition fees
Following the announcement that members of the University and College Union (UCU), which does include some lecturers here at Southampton as well as as other staff, you may be wondering are your lectures' going to be affected? And can I get a refund?
Currently about a quarter of staff at the uni are members of UCU and could strike. Some members of UCU won't neccesarily strike and your lecturers' may not wish to tell you whether they're striking or not. But you can ask them if your lectures are still going to happen?
Members are striking because they are essentially having their pensions cut. The Universities UK have proposed to end the defined benefit element of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) pension scheme, making the average lecturer almost £10,000 a year worse off in their pension according to the UCU.
Industrial action is set to begin with a two-day walkout on 22 and 23 February, escalating to strikes of three, four and five days in subsequent weeks (26-28 February, 5-8 March and 12-16 March) and many departments and lecturers here have already announced to their students that no lecturers will occur during those days.
Whilst on strike, lecturers and other staff won't be paid, yet we will still be paying tuition fees meaning that the university will be recieving money from us but won't be paying lecturers.
Currently on their FAQ's website here, the University have said the following:
"The University is working hard to ensure that students are not disadvantaged by this proposed action and that there is minimal disruption to their studies and progression."
"Some interruption of classes is inevitable in normal circumstances, for example due to illness, so a refund of fees is unlikely in this case, but we will keep this under review as the situation develops."
They have also said that:
"Any pay withheld from strikers will be re-allocated to student bursaries."
Though you may want compensating for strikes, particuarly if lectures or seminars are cancelled, the feasiblity of this happening is very difficult. Many lecture's or seminars are being rearranged and lecture slides or recordings may still be on Blackboard if you ask.
Also, if you got a refund from your tuition fees then it may have go to you via Student Finance England if you took your student loan from them, which many of us did. Furthermore, staff may not strike on the day. All of this means that calculating and getting a refund to students wouldn't be easy. So it's looking unlikely.
This however, hasn't stopped students from petitioning their universities. Students at the University of York have set up a petition asking for £300 compensation for the strikes. Similar petitions have been set up at Endiborough, Reading, Keele, Bangor as well as others.