Your studies during industrial action

 Information and guidance regarding industrial action

Updated 22 September 2023

LSE’s local University and College Union (UCU) branch has voted to seek an exemption from participating in industrial action planned across the UK higher education sector from 25 to 29 September, and this has been granted.  

If you need support, please visit the find support at LSE pages, where you can access study resources and guidance, as well as information about where to find help and advice for your wellbeing.

Student FAQs - your studies during Industrial Action 

What is industrial action and when is it taking place?

Industrial action is activity usually taken by employees to address workplace disputes. It can take different forms but is commonly known as going on strike – a situation where staff withdraw their labour and do not work.

Members of the University and College Union (UCU), one of LSE's recognised trade unions that represents some staff, voted at a national level in favour of further strike action as a response to national disputes about pay and working conditions across the university sector.

This round of industrial action includes strike action, where staff taking part do not work, and action short of a strike, where staff work only to contracted duties and not beyond this (more on this below).

Strike action is planned to take place across the UK higher education sector from 25-29 September. It will not take place at LSE.  

What is LSE doing about industrial action?

One of the biggest challenges to bringing this industrial action to a close is that it is of a national nature. Even if we take action locally, this will not mean matters draw to a close. Negotiations taking place must be agreed at the national level. While we can do our best to influence the outcomes of discussions, some of the matters, such as pay, are involve a process involving 146 institutions across the UK.

We are actively engaging with representative bodies on a national level and will continue to do so in the strongest possible terms, however we are not able to take immediate decisions to bring these matters to a close as an individual higher education institution.

LSE agrees that pay, pensions and precarity are significant challenges for the UK Higher Education sector that need to be addressed and throughout this longer period of industrial action, we have been closely monitoring the situation and taking action where things have been within our control. For example, previous local negotiations focused on enhancing the experience of early career and fixed-term academic staff at LSE as a key priority. In the coming weeks and months, we will continue to focus on this.

We also continue to discuss, as a matter of urgency, the pay challenges we face both for academic and professional services staff. In addition to the one-off cost of living payment given last year (£1,000 for all full-time staff), we increased our contribution pay budgets significantly in 2022/23 and maintained this for the 2023/24 round. There is important work to be done here and we are committed to doing everything we can.


Further information on teaching and learning

Will Welcome and other activities still be taking place from 25-29 September?

School-wide Welcome activities will go ahead as planned. 

Our Autumn Term programme of events extends throughout Autumn Term and is expected to run as planned during strike action. You should expect that most services will run unless you are told otherwise. 

Should I turn up for lectures, classes or seminars on a day that has scheduled strike action?

No strike action is planned at LSE. 

LSE requests that staff notify their department and students if they plan to take action. Please note, staff taking part in industrial action are not legally obliged to provide advance notice that they will take part.

Where possible, you will be informed in advance by your department or teacher if strike action is likely to impact any of your scheduled lectures, classes or seminars.

Unless you are told otherwise, you should attend your scheduled lectures, classes and seminars as planned. LSE will do all that it can to minimise disruption and most staff are expected to work as normal. 

If a class, seminar or lecture is cancelled as a result of strike action, will it be rescheduled?

However, in all cases, LSE will do its utmost to mitigate the impact of strike action on both the provision of teaching and the student experience.

Where possible, LSE may ask teaching staff to reschedule any classes, seminars or lectures that are cancelled as a result of strike action as soon as is practicable.

If you have educational activities cancelled during strike action, there are a number of other ways you can continue to engage with your teaching and learning, in absence of a class or lectures, you can ask your department about this.

What will happen if it is not possible for my teaching to be rescheduled?

Whilst teaching will be rearranged in as many cases as possible following industrial action, your department will let you know if this is not possible. Where available, they will also direct you to the range of teaching and learning resources on Moodle and / or materials elsewhere to support you in covering relevant areas of study.

You will not be assessed on any content that has not been covered in lectures or seminars due to strike action.

If one of my class or seminar groups is cancelled, can I attend a different one?

It may not be possible to attend a different class or seminar group than usual. This is the decision of the relevant teacher, and you should enquire with them in advance about whether this is possible on a temporary basis. As this round of action is the first week of term, it may be that you do not have classes yet and so will not be impacted.

Where available, you may also be able to access a variety of teaching and learning resources, such as course reading, discussion notes and other materials on Moodle.

Will other teaching support activities continue during the strike action, such as office hours and Academic Mentoring meetings?

As the impact will vary across our School, please check with your local department about which activities are disrupted and which will continue. Departmental staff should be able to advise you on any related questions you may have once the strike begins, including the range of resources and support available during this time. 

Will student support and activities continue during industrial action?

While some members of staff may take part, we do not expect there to be an impact on the support available to you.  

You will still be able to access academic support from your programme team in your department, through LSE LIFE, and the Library.  

Support teams across LSE will remain available throughout this time. For specific wellbeing needs, please see the Student Wellbeing Service website which includes sources of support and resources available to you now and in the future.  You can also find out how to access support at LSE through our Find Support tool, available on the Student Hub and online. 

If you need urgent wellbeing support, LSE has a support line that you can contact 24/7 to speak to a clinically trained counsellor or psychotherapist.   

Will strike action and picket lines make it difficult to access campus?

If you’re accessing campus facilities on strike days, you may need to pass staff taking part in the strike. Access to entrances will not be blocked in any way and you should feel able to pass freely and easily without confrontation.

Please be assured that the trade union has issued guidance which indicates that all pickets are intended to, and must be, peaceful in nature. Access to entrances will not be blocked in any way and you should feel able to pass freely and easily without confrontation. 

Can I access wellbeing support during industrial action?


All LSE’s Student Wellbeing services are fully operational at this time.  

  • There’s lots of wellbeing support at LSE, including student counsellors, events and workshops, and our 24/7 mental health support line – available to all students, who can speak to a trained counsellors at any time. You can choose to speak to a student if you prefer by reaching out to a Peer Supporter – a specially trained student who can offer support, give a fresh perspective, and listen to whatever is troubling you.  
  • Our counsellors are trained to support all students, no matter their individual circumstance. They, along with our mental health advisers and disability advisers are here for all students if you need to talk, but this is only part of our longer-term commitment to mental health and wellbeing as we continue to enhance mental health and wellbeing support at LSE. 
  • The Student Wellbeing Services team has restructured its approach to supporting students, so that you can be seen more quickly and directed to the right individual to assist you. Over the past year, we have increased the number of student counsellors and mental health advisors, workshops, and support groups. 
  • The Find support tool is available on the LSE website and the Student Hub, which brings together different sources of support from across LSE and LSESU. 

Information on the assessment and marking boycott (April – September 2023)

What was the assessment and marking boycott?

The marking and assessment boycott, which took place between April and September 2023, covered all marking and assessment processes that contribute to summative assessment decisions for all students. The boycott was included in the options for action short of a strike (ASOS) as part of the UCU extension of industrial action.

20 April was the date from which UCU asked members to cease undertaking all summative marking and associated assessment activities / duties, this ceased on 6 September.

What does the end of the marking and assessment boycott mean for me if I am waiting for my results from 2022/23?

On 6 September the University and College Union announced the end of the marking and assessment boycott (MAB). LSE very much welcomed this development, recognising the impact that this situation has had on our whole School community, and especially for individuals who experienced disruption.  

This process for completing and submitting all outstanding assessment marks is now taking place and continuing students and finalist postgraduate students will be contacted directly with more information.  


Further information relating to industrial action

What about complaints relating to the impact of industrial action?

What about compensation and fee refund requests?

LSE is working hard to minimise disruption as much as possible during periods of industrial action. This includes putting in place mitigations to help remedy the impact of strikes and support students, as well as making sure you're not assessed on any material missed because a teaching session was cancelled. It is also important to remember that many staff will not be on strike and campus is open as normal. 

Mitigations put in place will vary depending on your area of study and may be enacted now, later in the term, and across the duration of your programme. If you believe mitigations put in place are not sufficient in helping you meet your learning outcomes, you will be able to submit a formal complaint on this issue to the School Secretary. LSE will publish a dedicated form for this purpose no later than Week 9 of Autumn Term (20-24 November).

If you do wish to make a complaint about other matters, or want to know more about the process, visit our make a complaint page for more information, including our formal Student Complaints Procedure

If you need support or wish to discuss any matter in relation to your personal wellbeing, our Find Support tool can help you find the right support.

What about complaints relating to previous industrial action?

Complaints about industrial action during 2022/23

In accordance with the School’s normal deadline of a formal complaint having to be submitted to the School Secretary within 20 working days from the date of an alleged incident, the online form to submit complaints about the impact of industrial action in the 2022/23 academic year on teaching contact hours is now closed. 

If you have reason to submit a complaint relating to the impact of the marking and assessment boycott, please complete this marking boycott student complaint form, with details including your name, course and grounds for complaint. You are encouraged to review the School’s Complaints Procedure for Students before submitting your form. 

Complaints about industrial action during 2021/22
All investigations have now been concluded for complaints received in relation to the 2021/22 strikes, and outcome letters have been sent to all students at their LSE email inboxes, unless you have previously indicated that you would prefer that the outcome be sent to a personal email. 

Please contact tech support if you are struggling to access your LSE inbox, as the routine deletion of these inboxes had been suspended until the conclusion of our investigations. 

If, for whatever reason you are still unable to access your LSE inbox or have not yet received an outcome letter in respect of a complaint related to the 2021/22 industrial action, please contact the Legal Team at

What does 'action short of a strike' mean?

‘Action short of a strike’ means that individuals taking part will work normally, apart from duties beyond this that the union is asking its members to refuse to undertake.

UCU has advised that in the context of this dispute, taking action short of a strike will consist of its members:

  • Only working contracted hours and duties and not volunteering to do more
  • Not rescheduling classes and lectures cancelled due to strike action
  • Not covering for absent colleagues
  • Removing uploaded materials related to, and/or not sharing materials related to, lectures or classes that will be or have been cancelled as a result of strike action.

Staff have been asked to make sure that they do not stop undertaking any contractual duties as a misinterpretation of ‘working to contract’.