Industrial action information for students
The University of Leeds is currently in a period of industrial action. We've pulled together some questions and answers to help you understand what this means for you.
What is industrial action?
Industrial action is a way for staff to seek to resolve a dispute with their employer. It can be in the form of a strike (where staff members don’t work at all) or action short of a strike (ASOS) (where staff members may work to contract or may not undertake voluntary activities). Industrial action is organised by trade unions, who hold ballots (or votes) of their members to decide what action to take, and is a democratic right under UK law. You may see demonstrations, or picket lines, on campus on strike days - these are peaceful demonstrations and a key part of most strike action.
When is it happening?
UCU has announced five days of strike action from 25-29 September.
Unite and UNISON have announced strike action on 29 Sept, 2 October and 3 October.
Why is it happening?
The current UCU dispute relates to their campaigns focused on casualisation, gender, ethnicity and disability pay inequality, workload and the 2022/23 pay award. The UNISON and Unite disputes relate to pay. Significant work is underway locally to address these issues.
What is the University doing to resolve it?
Industrial action is always challenging for our community and is even more so in the middle of an unprecedented cost of living crisis. We do understand that these are difficult times for many of our staff and students, as they are for wider society. We are taking steps to help those that need it most, in line with our values of collaboration, compassion, inclusion and integrity.
While the core issues at the heart of these disputes – nationally agreed pay rates and pensions – cannot be fixed by the University alone, we have been working constructively with our three trades unions to implement a series of commitments on related areas that we can address. These include issues around workload, employment terms, supporting our lowest paid staff, and fixed term contracts.
This support for staff aligns with our three Fairer future for all pledges:
- Reduce short-term contracts and boost job security
- Support a healthy and fulfilled staff community
- Create opportunity and celebrate achievements.
Are all staff taking part?
No, just some members of staff who are members of UCU, UNISON and Unite. Staff don’t have to tell us if they’re a union member and whether they are intending to take action, so we cannot always provide full details in advance about what impact there will be.
However, we know that only a minority of staff actually took part in industrial action held in 2021 and 2022. Unions must tell us when they plan to take any strike action, so we will keep you informed of any further developments.
How will this affect me?
Our priority is to minimise any disruption to your education and learning experience. As you may know or have seen for yourself, we’ve kept the University open throughout previous strikes, in December 2021 and February, March, June, September and November 2022.
Your first port of call for general help and information should always be the Student Information Service, which is open for questions in person, on the phone or by email from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday.
You can find out how to contact them here, or find your closest Student Information Point to speak to someone face to face on campus.
LUU also offers help and support services, in person, on email or over the phone, during the week and on weekends. You can find out more or the LUU help and support website.
What happens if I miss out on teaching because of strikes?
The University’s leadership team have been working with your Schools to set expectations around what has to happen if your education is affected by industrial action. That means that:
staff taking part in strike action should prioritise the delivery of required educational activities as soon as possible on their return to work. That means timetabled teaching activity like lectures, seminars and lab classes, personal tutoring support and examinations or other formal assessments associated with progression and award
where timetabled teaching activity is impacted by strike action, rescheduling this activity must take priority. Colleagues taking part in action short of strike (ASOS) are also required to prioritise educational activities, and deprioritise or stop all other work
rescheduled educational activity should, in principle, be delivered ‘like for like’ (e.g. face to face teaching should continue to be delivered face to face). Where it is not possible to reschedule on a ‘like for like’ basis owing to timetabling/space constraints, colleagues should deliver a high quality, interactive alternative (e.g. a live online lecture to cover a cancelled in person session or small group tutorial sessions to cover missed materials)
Because staff don’t have to tell us if they plan to go on strike, your School won’t know what replacement teaching is required just yet, but will let you know their plans as soon as they can.
I’m a postgraduate researcher. How will the industrial action affect me?
Firstly, you should talk to your supervisor, who should be able to advise you what impact, if any, the industrial action will have on your work. If your viva falls on a strike day, your examiner should be in touch to rearrange if the session won’t be possible. Otherwise, you can approach your graduate school or the Doctoral College. You can also speak to the Help and Support Team in Leeds University Union.
I’m graduating this summer and my marks are delayed. Can I still graduate?
All ceremonies will be held as planned, and you can attend your celebration even if you are still waiting for your results. All certificates will be posted out to you as soon as they’re available.
My job offer is dependent on me getting a certain degree classification. How soon will I know this if my marks are delayed?
If your marks are not available on the planned date, your School will let you know when these will become available. If this affects you, we will automatically provide you with an interim transcript and a letter that explains the status of your results.
I’m worried I’ll need to resit. When will I find out and will I have time to prepare?
Your School will let you know if you have a resit opportunity when your results are published. We expect all students to have plenty of time to prepare for their resits. If it isn’t possible for you to resit in the usual August resit window, your School will let you know and discuss with you the dates for your resit opportunities.
I’m travelling home for the summer. If I have to resit will I be able to do it remotely?
The normal rules apply to mode of resits as previously published by your School. Check the module catalogue and the module area in Minerva for more information. If you meet certain criteria, you may be able to resit your examination overseas.
How will this affect my application for further study or graduate employment?
We do not expect there to be any impact on applications for further study or graduate employment. If your results are delayed, we will automatically provide you with an interim transcript and a letter that explains the status of your results.
Our understanding in that wherever possible, no student currently completing an undergraduate degree in a UK university will be denied entry to a Masters programme at Russell Group institutions they have an offer from because they are missing marks due to industrial action where existing marksshow the student is likely to meet the terms of an offer. Decisions about individual circumstances will be made on a case-by-case basis.
I am an international exchange student and the grades I get at Leeds will count towards my degree. I need a transcript from Leeds to graduate. When will I get my official Transcript of Records?
You will get a transcript of your marks from the University when published in the normal way. If your results are delayed, we will automatically provide you with an interim transcript and a letter that explains the status of your results.
I am an international student who needs to apply for a graduate visa. Will delays to my marks affect my ability to apply?
We do not anticipate that there will be any impact on your ability to apply for a graduate visa. You will be able to apply when we have reported your eligibility after your results are published. You have until your student visa expires to apply for the graduate visa. Further guidance is available from our Student Visa Advice team.
I submitted mitigating circumstances and still failed, and now need to resit. Do I need to apply for mitigating circumstances again?
If there are unanticipated circumstances that affect your ability to sit resit assessments, you should consider making an application at the time of the resit following the Mitigating Circumstances Guidance. If you know now that you have circumstances that affect your ability to sit resit assessments you should contact your student support team to discuss support for your known needs at this time.
How do I access my marks?
To access your results, you need to:
- Log into Minerva
- On the 'My Leeds' page, in the section 'Tools and Other University Systems', click the link to 'Student Services'.
- Click on the ‘Examinations tab’ to view the menu
If your results screen is missing marks, please don’t keep refreshing the screen – marks are being added regularly, so try back later, or wait for communications from your School.
I’ve been told that some of my module marks are incomplete. What does that mean?
For some modules, some of the component marks are available and some aren’t. However, interim module marks or P/F (pass/fail) grades have been given where possible. When the remaining component marks become available, these will be considered in conjunction with existing marks and your module marks will be updated and finalised.
I haven’t received some module marks at all. When will I get them?
As soon as marks become available, they will be processed and issued to you. This could be throughout the Summer or at the beginning of the next academic year.
I haven’t got enough credits to progress to the next year of study due to missing marks. Do I need to take a year out?
No. You will be allowed to progress to the next year of study if you don’t have enough credits due to missing marks. Only if there is clear evidence that you have not gained enough credits (i.e., module marks are complete and returned with a failing mark) will your progression be affected.
I have failed some modules but I’ve been told that I can’t resit them in August. Why is that?
Some modules still have missing marks for certain components. When the marks for these missing components are available, your final module mark will be recalculated, and it could turn in to a pass mark. So even though your current mark is a fail, it might not be once all information is available. We only want you to resit what you need to, so please wait until all module marks are complete and finalised before we decide whether you need to resit or not. Resits can then be taken in January, June or August 2024, and your School will advise you on when is best for you.
How do I know what I can resit in August?
You are eligible to resit a module if there is clear evidence that you need to. Only if a module mark is complete – all components are marked and accounted for – and you have a fail mark, or if you have failed a compulsory element of the module such as a lab, will you be able to resit straight away. This is because we don’t want you to go through the resit process if you don’t need to. Your progression won’t be affected by any incomplete modules, and your School will advise you when and how to sort out resits and get support with them.
I’ve been told that I’ve been awarded a degree but haven’t got a classification. What does that mean?
This means that due to missing marks, we have been unable to determine what your final classification will be. However, there is enough evidence to show that you have met the requirements to be awarded an honours degree. As soon as marks become available, your classification will be determined, and you will be notified of the outcome.
My work has been marked by someone other than my tutor, how do I know that this is a fair mark?
We have put in place special arrangements to ensure that we can graduate as many of our students as we can during this challenging time. This means that in some cases your work may have been marked by someone other than your tutor. All reallocation of marking will have been carefully considered by those with leadership responsibilities for your education to ensure that those marking your work have appropriate expertise and will make a fair judgement on your level of achievement.
I think that I will need to take a resit in August, can I still attend graduation?
All ceremonies will be held as planned, and you can attend your celebration even if you know or think you will need to resit in August. If you would prefer to defer your attendance at graduation to December, let the team know at firstname.lastname@example.org
What do I do if I want to make a complaint?
We’re doing everything we can to ensure that you won’t be disadvantaged by the industrial action, and that plans are made to deliver any missed learning opportunities. Your School should be able to resolve any concerns, please contact them in the first instance. However, if you aren’t happy with this resolution, you can email email@example.com. We will then provide further information about how to make a complaint.
The Office for Students provides further guidance for students affected by industrial action.