Student Poll

ucu industrial action information

The University and College Union (UCU) which represents many university staff nationally has recently been asking its members to vote on whether to take industrial action. The disputes that were balloted on are in relation to pensions, pay and working conditions. You can read about UCU members’ concerns here.  

The most recent ballots closed on 21 October 2022. Following these ballots, it has been confirmed that UCU have nationally voted in favour of industrial action in relations to concerns about pay and pensions. Further details of the ballot outcomes can be found here.

Update 24 January:
The University College Union (UCU) has confirmed their intention to take strike action at 150 universities across the UK (including Exeter) for up to 18 days between February and March in disputes over staff pay, conditions and the USS pension.

The first day of strikes has been announced as Wednesday 1 February. The additional dates have now been confirmed, see the list below. 

The planned Marking and Assessment Boycott (MAB) for January will now not go ahead.

We’ll be opening a new poll soon so that you can tell us your thoughts on the February and March action and what we can be doing to support all students through this time.

UCU have given formal notification of industrial action as follows:


Strikes will take place on:
Wednesday 1 February
Thursday 9 and Friday 10 February
Tuesday 14, Wednesday 15 and Thursday 16 February
Tuesday 21, Wednesday 22 and Thursday 23 February
Monday 27 and Tuesday 28 February, Wednesday 1 and Thursday 2 March
Thursday 16 and Friday 17 March
Monday 20, Tuesday 21 and Wednesday 22 March

Action Short of a Strike
Commencing on Wednesday 23 November 2022. This will run until the mandate expires (20 April 2023) or UCU call off their action.

UCU Strike Action Poll Results

We polled Exeter students in November to find out their stances on UCU strike action. The UCU poll has now closed with 57 responses.

60% (34 students) agreed with the causes, agreed with the action
23% (13 students) agreed with the causes, disagreed with the action
18% (10 students) disagreed with causes, disagreed with the action

Despite majority of respondents in poll outcome supporting action, the Guild have not taken up a stance in favour of the strike action. This is due to low engagement with the poll, as these results are not fully representative of the student body. The Guild will continue to support all students regardless of their stance on the strikes.

Message from The Guild

We stand in solidarity with UCU and staff striking, including postgraduate students who teach. We recognise the seriousness of the current situation for staff and understand the aims of the strike in fighting for fair pay, pensions and working conditions. We acknowledge that students’ university experience wouldn’t be what it is without the quality of the lecturers and staff that we have.  

We also recognise that this strike action is set to have an impact on a considerable number of Exeter students, and we’re fully committed to representing you and having your back throughout this time. This will include representing student concerns or complaints to the university, irrespective of your views on the action taking place.  

We commit to working towards mitigating the implications and effects on students’ education, access and welfare in this time, including lobbying for students to receive fair compensation for lost teaching. Our commitment to mitigate the impact on students does not undermine the effort of the UCU strike action.   

How will the Guild support students during the strikes?

We will be offering support to all students through our student reps, our Student Advice Team and through your full-time officers. This will include continuing to organise student drop-ins throughout and beyond any strike period for students to raise concerns or questions regarding the impact of strikes or any mitigations.

We will be using our website and social media channels to provide further guidance, support and news of any further developments in relation to the strike.

Drop-in sessions:
During the strikes the Officers will be operating an 'Open Door Policy' at their office in DH1 for any students with questions or concerns

February and March sessions tbc

How will the Guild support the strikes?

  • Stand in solidarity with members of UCU staff and students that are taking action
  • Encourage students to talk to their lecturers taking part in the strike action
  • Sharing materials from UCU to help students understand why strike action is taking place
  • Organising an event in collaboration with UCU to inform students about the purpose of the strike action and enabling students to ask questions to members of UCU